The person that executes a power of attorney is called the Testator. Many times third parties will request the original will. The original document should not be given to a third party because an original document cannot be replaced. One of the ways to revoke a will is to tear it up. Persons with a vested interest, could tear it up to obtain a financial advantage in a succession.
The Principal should be careful even giving an original will to a person who has a vested interest in enforcing the will. This is still not a recommended practice since the Testator may not be able to obtain the original back without the cooperation of the vested party to destroy and renounce the will.
Wills can be recorded with the Clerk’s office at the courthouse. The advantage of recording it with the Clerk’s office is that will guarantee that anyone looking for it, will definitely find it. The disadvantage of recording it with the Clerk’s office is the expense.
Original Wills can also be kept in the possession of the attorney that had it prepared and executed. The advantage of keeping it with an attorney is preservation from other adverse heirs or legatees. The disadvantage of keeping it with an attorney is that it may be difficult to find if none of the legatees or executor was giving notice on where it was being kept.
An original will can in the home of the Principal preferably in a fireproof safe. The Testator should let the legatees and executor know where the original will is located and how to get to the will. The advantage of keeping the will in the possession of the Testator is that the Testator can easily destroy it if they want to revoke it. The disadvantage is that it may not be discovered if notice of its location is not given to interested parties and it can be subject of sabotage if an adverse party locates it and destroys it.
It is important to let interested parties know that you have a will and where it can be located. That does not mean that you must let people know what the will says. You are not required to give the contents of what a will says but, the fact you have one should not be a secret.
If a person has any questions or concerns about a will, they should consult an experienced estate planning attorney.