It’s 3 a.m., do you know where your will is?

April 2, 2014

Neil Wyper

Is your will somewhere that your loved ones can find? Is it somewhere they can access? After drafting a will that meets your needs, it is very important that the will is stored where it can be found.

A safety deposit box at a bank is a good place to store a will, but it is important that someone knows to look there. Because there are so many banks, and because all banks strive to protect your privacy, it isn’t possible to just “ask around” to find out which bank might have your safety deposit box.

Many lawyers, including Wyper Law, offer to store client wills. Again, privacy concerns, particularly solicitor-client privilege, prevent lawyers from disclosing whether they are storing a person’s will, except in certain circumstances.

Many people choose to hide their will in their home, which can be a good option. But, if it is too well hidden, it may not be available shortly after the will-maker’s death.

If a will cannot be found, your family must proceed as if you had no will at all. The provisions for distributing your estate without a will apply, which is certainly not what you want, if you went to the trouble of creating a will.

There are a few things you can do, to avoid this:

You can tell the people whom you chose as executors where you have stored your will, and instruct them on how to find it. You can register the location of your will with the BC Vital Statistics Agency. I encourage all of my clients to register the location of their will with Vital Statistics. Registration does not require sending the will or a copy to the government; it simply provides a record of where the will is stored. The registration should be kept up to date, so that when a will-maker moves, or replaces a will, a new notice should be filed with Vital Statistics.

Please contact me to prepare a will for you, which covers your needs today, as well as your future needs. I will also help you decide how to store your will, so it can be found when it is needed.