It is no secret that quite often a will that is properly drafted and signed simply cannot be found. There is, however, a way to prevent that from happening.
You Can File Your Will With the Court
You can file your original will with the Surrogate's Court in the county in which you reside while you are still alive. It is the safest place in the world to keep an original will.
If I Do That, What Else Should I Do?
You should leave among your personal effects a copy of the receipt showing that the will was filed with the Court. It will never be overlooked by the court, but if family members don't know that the will has been filed with the court, they may spend many hours searching for a document that they won't find. You should also be sure to alert a family member or your attorney that you are filing the will with the court, and you should also place a note among your personal papers confirming that you filed the will with the court and indicating the date of the will and the date of the filing.
What If Survivors Don't Find The Receipt Or Note?
When somebody goes to file any will with the court, or to start an administration proceeding, the court will check to see if a will has ever been filed.
Do Many People File Wills with the Court?
No. It actually is rarely done. But many people do lose or misplace wills, often without ever knowing. And it is particularly useful to file a will with the court in the event that you believe that family members may bear ill will toward one another to the extent that one might possibly secrete the will.
If It is Filed With the Court, Is it Confidential?
During the lifetime of the testator (the person who made the will), the will remains confidential. Others will not be able to read it.
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