I met with a very informed younger couple yesterday. Over the course of our meeting, we had an interesting discussion because this couple had done a lot of research before our meeting. They had a stack of papers they had printed out from blogs they read. Most of the blogs had good advice. But one of them had a strange topic. It encouraged its readers to put their wills in their safe deposit box. This is directly opposite of the advice that I give my clients. It’s also directly opposite to almost every other bit of writing I have seen on the topic. (The blog was an obscure one, but clearly, it had some kind of reach).

Since their research yielded a very different answer than I was giving, we got into a long discussion about why or why not your will should be in your safe deposit box.

Why Can’t I Put My Will In My Safe Deposit Box?

It seems a little counter-intuitive. Your will is an important document. You pay for a safe deposit box to keep your important documents safe. So why shouldn’t your will be in there too?

The problem comes when you die or become incapacitated. No one but you can get into your safe deposit box. So if someone else needs to get your will, they can’t do it. In some states, safe deposit boxes are sealed when their owner dies. The only way to get them opened is to go to court to get a court order. So that means that someone will have to go to court to get the order. This can delay things.

If you have a provision for your funeral in your will, no one may know about it until after you’ve been buried because they didn’t get the will in time. You spent all that time and money crafting a wonderful and elaborate funeral directive, but it never gets used.

I’m not sure why the blog thought it was a good idea to put your will in a safe deposit box. I couldn’t find anyone else who agreed with it. But it did create a lively discussion for our meeting.

Next Steps

If you’re still storing your will in your safe deposit box, take five minutes and swing by the box and get it out of there. After you’ve done that, if you realize that maybe it’s time to update some (or all) of your will, call my office to set up a meeting and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.