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October 08, 2009


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In my file cabinet at home and in my safe deposit box at my bank--my sister has a key. Also, I have a signed copy on file at my attorney's.

Anything in a home safe = asking to be stolen IMO. I've never been able to figure out why a home safe would be better than a safe deposit box.

What about flooding? What water damage from putting out a fire? i know some safes are design to expand to seal and protect from this but I don't know at what temp this happens.

I keep things like this in a safe deposit box at our bank.

I don't know exactly how much a quality safe would cost, but I think it would be much cheaper and easier to use a safe deposit box. No upkeep, and the small fee would be less than the cost of the safe.

In addition to the paper copies; i have it on my computer; backed up on other systems, disc, and in online storage.

All my important papers are currently in my parent's safe. There aren't many of them and being a renter I feel more comfortable with them having those than keeping them in an apartment.

I generally keep all important papers in a safe deposit box.

However that turns out to be a particularily bad place for a will which I found out when I asked my attorney specifically if I should keep it there.

The reason is that upon your death only your spouse or a directly appointed estate executor can get into the box. However your will is the document that specifies who your executor is so there is a catch-22. Only the executor can get into the box to get the will but you need to have a valid will to assign an executor. He also told me that courts will often only accept the original signed will and not a photocopy.

Thus your safe deposit box is going to probate in order to get it open and all the terms specified in your will are on hold until that process completes.

Actually, you can set it up with your bank so anyone you choose can hold a key and get into your safe deposit box--it doesn't have to be your spouse or executor.

Another question here: why does the will have to be so top secret? Unless you're disowning your children or something?


Thats a good point. I suppose if you have a joint box with someone that would work. I suspect most people don't do that but it seems like that should work.

@Apex and @MC,
Great point - and just to continue on with it. Obviously the "other person" is someone you trust. Next you need to make yearly trips to the box so that the "other person" actually has signed in on the box at some regular interval. Especially good method to do when there is a single parent.

In my case - my original will is in the attorney's safe, a copy is in my file, in my computer and my to be appointed executor has a copy.

Absolutely only in a safe deposit box if you have other people who are authorized to access. And not just an agent under a power of attorney (their authority terminates at your death). You wouldn't believe how much unnecessary money you pay an attorney if it's in your safe and nobody else is authorized to access the safe. Especially because banks can be REALLY fussy about this and require court orders to allow access. It's beyond ridiculous. In my opinion a fire proof safe or box at home is best and always let someone know where it's stored so it isn't like the world's greatest treasure hunt when you die.

For people that use safe deposit boxes what if the bank declares the box "abandoned"? This article made me wonder:

Another thing to think about: My estate planning attorney who did my will also did a "living will" at the same time. You know, one of those documents that say whether you want to be unplugged or not when the time comes, and who should decide. I definitely don't want to linger on in a vegetative state. Both wills = major peace of mind for me.

It's a lot cheaper just to provide copies to key relatives (parents, siblings, children) and/or friends and advisors who would be involved in the estate distrubiton process. This assumes you don't deliberately screw someone out of something to which they feel they are enttiteld, which I know happens in some families...but assuming you've got responsible adults you can rely on, it makes it simple.

I keep mine in a file cabinant...easy to find if someone needs it. Just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't die in a fire and the will gets burned up with me. If I do die and it gets burned up, My family would be just fine . Yes it would be a hassle for them. Going through probate and all. But I have the money to pay the lawyers and nobody would need my money or estate. So, in the file cabinant is just a chance I take. I wouldn't suggest it for others. I have no dependents.

When should you get a will? My husband and I are mid-twenties, have no kids, and everything we have is a joint account or joint debt (the house). Do we need a will to say that if one of us dies, the other keeps going with everything as usual?

Crystal all most all cases if one of you should die and there is no will, the spouse would get everything.

Our will is at the lawyer's office with a copy kept here. We have made sure our executor knows where it is to be found. We did all the documents at the same time and it was fairly painless, since we had just done some financial planning earlier that year. Surprising, some roleplaying done to determine what the right choices were for us.

We were lucky that my husband's employer has an option to pay for lawyers if you want it, so this paid for all the documents.

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