Storing Your Will Versus Depositing it in Court: Key Differences

Posted on: 8 April 2019


A will is an important part of your overall estate plan. It allows you to list all your assets and heirs while expressing additional preferences that you may have. But after you've written your will and had it notarised, what's the next step? Is it better to store it somewhere or to deposit it with the court?

There are important differences between these two practices, and each comes with its own pros and cons. For example, if you keep your will within easy reach, you can make appropriate modifications with ease. However, depositing your will with the court might make implementation easier in specific circumstances.

Storing the will yourself

After preparing a will, many estate owners choose to keep the document in a safe place where they can access it as necessary. This may be inside your home's safe, in your bank's safe deposit box or even with your personal lawyer. Storing the will yourself gives you the flexibility of adjusting the document as you go along, showing your heirs what they should expect to get in the event of your death and selecting an executor of the will as time goes by.

However, you should make sure that you store this document in a safe place to avoid losing it. If you lose your will and there's no copy, your estate will have to go through a lengthy probate process. In addition, the specific wishes you had for your heirs may not be executed because the document isn't there to provide the necessary guidelines.

If you choose to keep the will yourself, make a certified copy and inform your next of kin where they can locate the document upon your passing.

Depositing the will in court

You also have the option of depositing your will in court. This is often done with a clerk of the court and within your specific jurisdiction. If you have multiple properties around the country, you should deposit your will in a court that has the most jurisdiction over your estate.

Also, remember that depositing your will in court does not mean that it will be automatically executed according to your wishes. The will may still need to undergo probate, but the process will be much easier with your will within easy reach.

Another benefit of this option is that you can provide the contact information of your next of kin in the event that they need to access your will.