Where Should You Store Your Will?
After your Will has been signed and witnessed, it becomes an important legal document. So, it’s important that it is stored in a safe and secure place that is easily accessible to your Executor. After you pass away, your loved ones will search for your Will, and it’s important they can find the original version. If the original cannot be located, the administration of the estate is likely to become more complicated and more expensive. More than just family law specialists, Melbourne families can rely on Robert Wood and Associates for assistance with all things related to Wills and Probate, Estate Planning and more. Read on to learn more about the importance of storing your Will safely.
Applying for A Grant of Probate
Where a deceased person has assets over the value of around $50,000, the executor will need to apply for a Grant of Probate. This is an order of the Court on the last Will of the deceased issued to the executor of the estate. Once granted, the executor can commence administering the estate.
The process of obtaining a Grant of Probate is relatively straightforward when they have the original Will, however, the process may be more difficult in the event that only a copy be located.
What Happens When the Original Will Cannot Be Located?
In the event that the original Will cannot be located, the law presumes that the deceased destroyed it. When the original Will is missing, the following must be demonstrated to the Court:
- that a Will actually existed.
- that the Will revoked all previous Wills of the deceased.
The Court must be satisfied that the Will was not destroyed, therefore:
- there must be evidence of the terms of the Will; and
- there must be evidence of due execution of the Will, or that the deceased intended the document to constitute their Will.
When the original Will cannot be located, demonstrating to the Court that the deceased did not destroy their original Will is critical.
Storing Your Will
In today’s digital age, many documents can be stored online, unfortunately a Will is not one of them. Australian legislation requires the original signed document to ensure that it is legally binding, therefore a digital copy is not sufficient in the eyes of the law or to obtain a Grant of Probate.
You can store your Will in a few places:
At home – If you choose to store your original Will at home, make sure it is contained in a fireproof and waterproof safe, metal box or filing cabinet. Once you have chosen the location, ensure that your Executor will be able to access it when needed.
A safe deposit box – Most commonly found at banks, these are secure locations that require identification to access. Usually, a bank will allow you to open a safe deposit box under both your name and the name of your executor. That will mean your Executor is authorised to access at when they need to.
With your executor – As your Executor will be the person who needs the document upon your death, you can ask them to store it for you. Make sure they can store it in a secure place and if you don’t want them to read it before you die, place it in a sealed envelope.
Should You Make Copies of Your Will?
Once your Will has been signed and witnessed, make one or two copies – you shouldn’t need any more than that. A copy is helpful in the event that that the original cannot be located, as it can prove that a Will existed. DO NOT mark the original Will in any way, as it to have no additional markings, paper clips, or additional stapled pages. Copies should be labelled as a ‘copy’.
Experienced Power of Attorney Lawyer – Melbourne
To learn more about making a Will, appointing a power of attorney or if you need a will dispute lawyer, Melbourne is home to Robert Wood and Associates – experienced and professional solicitors who can help with expert advice on a wide range of legal matters. Make an appointment with our team today by calling (03) 9762 3877 or enquire online now.
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