How to Store your Will to Avoid Issues with Probate

Congratulations, you’ve just signed your will.  Now what?  It’s important to keep your will in a safe place where someone will be able to find it.  Probating a will is very difficult unless the original can be produced.  This could add significant time and expense to the probate process. Here are some options to consider:

A Texas County Clerk

County clerks offer a will safekeeping service for a fee.  Many clerks will require that you provide them with names and addresses of individuals you want authorized to claim your will.  These individuals must present a death certificate to be able to retrieve the will.  The clerk will not notify your executor or beneficiaries that they have the will.  You must let them know where you have placed the will.

Safe Deposit Box

This is another good option to keep your will safe so long as you let important people know where you have left your will.  However, banks will typically not open a safe deposit box until it receives direction from the court-appointed administrator after probate has been opened for your estate.  Since your will is in the safe deposit box and your will is needed for probate, this creates a problem.  One solution is to talk with the bank about individuals who may be granted access to the safe deposit box in order to get the will.  Another solution is to have a court order the safe deposit box opened.  Although this option will create additional delay and expense.

Your Home

Perhaps the best location for your will is in your own home.  A good idea is to keep the will with your other important documents.  It may also be a good idea to give copies of your will to others, like your executor.  By taking some extra time to consider a good location for your will, you help to ensure a smooth probate process for your family.

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