It can seem like so much work to go through the steps of writing your Will executing it appropriately – but you’re not done quite yet. The next step is where to safely store it.
Part of the paradox of a Will is that it is an important, often confidential legal document that must be kept secure but accessible and available for viewing after the Will-maker’s death.
Once you have properly executed your Will, we recommend you store a signed copy with your Executor for their knowledge and use when the time comes. The Executor should also be made aware of the location of the originally signed copy of the Will.
Even online Wills need to have a hard-copy of their Will stored securely. So read on to learn more about how to store your Will.
Can Wills Be Stored Online?
In most Australian states and territories, an original signed hardcopy of a Will is necessary for the administration of a deceased estate. With the exception of Victoria which allows for digital execution of a Will, an original hardcopy must be provided by the Executor when applying for a Grant of Probate.
With online Wills, once it has been written and finalised, you’ll receive it in the PDF form. From there, it’s an easy matter to print it out and sign it.
For the Will to become valid, it needs to be signed in front of two witnesses. These people must be at least 18 years old. Both you and each of your witnesses have to sign each page of the Will – not just the last page. The laws around witnesses and signing can vary from state to state, so make sure you’re across the specific rules for your state.
Once you’ve got the final, executed Will, it’s time for secure storage.
Storing a Will at Home
One option is to store the originally signed hardcopy of your Will at home.
Ideally, for the best security, the Will is kept inside a safe or other secure, locked container. As it touches upon your social networks, finances and so many aspects of your life, it’s best to keep the contents of your Will private. This is also your best at-home option for preventing anyone from damaging or destroying your Will.
Having said that, your Will could also be damaged by natural causes, like storms and fires. The safe storing your Will should also be waterproof, fireproof and otherwise able to protect the document from damage.
Make sure the Executor of the Will has clear instructions on how to access the document upon the event of your death. You may choose for the Will to be kept with your Executor, or with your legal representative or other trusted advisor, rather than in your own home.
Professional Will Storage
Many institutions also provide safe custody services for the secure storage of important original documents, like Wills. Banks and many law firms provide this service, but you can also find other specialist companies that provide secure storage. These are the professionals who provide a range of protective features for your Will that would be prohibitively difficult or expensive to undertake on your own.
While there is a price tag associated with this service, it will give you greater peace of mind that your Will is secure and safe from unexpected disasters, as well as regular occurrences like moving house!
Safeguard Your Future
It’s one of the most important things you can do to safeguard the future of your estate. Take the first step today and write a Will online with Your Wills.
You’ll be done within minutes, and then from there it’s a simple matter to print, sign and store at your own convenience.
Get started with Your Wills today.