I was recently contacted by a widow who was desperately trying to locate a copy of the will that her husband made in the early 90’s. She could not find a copy of the will anywhere in the house or in their safe deposit box, and the attorney who prepared the will died many years ago. Now the widow is frantically searching for a will, or a copy of a will, that she may never find.
When I meet with new clients I generally ask if they have a will. Sometimes the response is, “I have a will, but I don’t know where it is.” Then I explain to them that if they can’t find their will, then they don’t have one.
It is always a good idea to take a periodic inventory of your important documents and papers. Have a specific day every year that you do this — perhaps on your birthday or on New Year’s Day or some other significant day when you will remember to take a quick inventory of your important papers.
You should make sure that you can locate the originals of the following documents:
- Your will;
- Your trust, if you have one;
- Your financial and health care powers of attorney;
- Life and disability insurance policies;
- Automobile and boat titles;
- Stock certificates and savings bonds.
A good place to keep these important papers is in a bank safe deposit box. The annual rental fee is minimal, and this provides a safe, waterproof, fireproof place to store your important papers. And it is the first place your loved ones will look if something should happen to you.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so take a few moments now to avoid a ton of headaches for your loved ones in the future.
Willi Law Office, LLC has been providing personalized estate planning and probate services to individuals and businesses in Westerville and Central Ohio for over 20 years.