WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE ORIGINAL WILL IS LOST OR DESTROYED?
Missing or destroyed Wills raise all sort of complex legal issues. In most cases, such estate could eventually be declared as intestate and the family would need to apply for Letters of Administration to unlock the assets!
WHERE SHOULD CLIENTS KEEP THEIR WILLS?
BANK SAFE DEPOSIT BOX?
Safe deposit box is part of the estate hence will be frozen upon death. No one would be able to have access to the Will stored in the box. This leaves the Executor no choice but to apply for Letters of Administration before getting right to open it!
OWN SAFE BOX AT HOME?
The testator would have to somehow share the combination to unlock the safe. How secure is it to let others know the safes’ password/code?
If undisclosed, no one would be able to open to safe to retrieve the Will when it is needed!
If disclosed, confidentiality of the Will could be compromised. Allowing other people to have access to the Will, could attract tampering and forging of the Will and thus affecting its validity just like the cases shown below.
UNDER THE PILLOW? or…
INSIDE THE BISCUIT TIN?
Keeping your Will at home not only creates the possibility of others having access to it, there could also be a risk of it being destroyed by fire or other natural disasters. Some people have been known to place their Wills in the cabinet or in a sealed plastic bag/envelope. For obvious reason, these are not good places for safekeeping as there is no certainty of either safety or confidentiality!
Rockwills did encounter a case where a family consulted us on their father’s Will that was destroyed by pest after years keeping in what was believed to be ‘super safe sealed envelope’. The family cannot do anything but to apply for the Letters of Administration at the end because the Will was revoked by the Court due to the destruction!
NOW, WHAT IS THE BEST OPTION?
MAYBE ASKING SOMEONE ELSE TO KEEP THEIR WILLS?
Perhaps, but how to find someone that is trustworthy enough? How to ensure that he/she lives longer than your clients? Would the family be able to find that person when they are gone?
OR…JUST NOT TELLING ANYONE AT ALL?
Some people think it would be safer to hide their Wills at places where no one knows, including their spouse or children, but if so, how do the family find the Will upon their death? When the Will is needed, and if it cannot be located, it is like not having a Will!
*Tips: No matter where your clients decide to keep their Will, advise them to at least let the Executor know the location of the Will. After all, they want the Will to be found after the testator passes on.
Unnecessary legal issues or family dramas can be avoided if your clients have a better understanding on the importance of safekeeping of Will! As a wise Estate Planner, you should promote LIFETIME CUSTODY or LIFETIME PLUS CUSTODY to your clients to help them enjoy greater savings!
Facing difficulties on handling the common objections? Stay tuned for our next Circular to learn some tips!