You’ve read our article on writing a will (if you have not, you can read it here), and understood the importance of having a will. You wrote your will with one of the best will writing companies in the market (Trust Tech)…… What’s next?
Writing a will is a good start – what is equally important is where you keep your will.
A lost will is the same as not having a will
In our second article on what to do when a loved one passes away (which can be found here), we briefly discussed what happens if your loved ones are aware that there is a will but is unable to locate the will.
In general, the probate courts will only accept the original copy of your will that is kept in good condition to be admitted by your executor(s). If your executor is unable to locate your original will or copies of your will, it will be regarded as if you have no will and your estate will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. After spending time, effort and money on writing a will conveying your last wishes, surely that is not the outcome that you want. Where you store your will is therefore crucial.
What are your will storage options?
Many people keep their wills at home together with other important documents. This is probably the easiest place for executors to find it since it is probably the first place they will look. The reason why most people prefer this option is that it’s free and without any ongoing costs. The downside of storing a will at home is that it can be tampered with or accidentally get damaged through a fire, or by damp or mouldy conditions. You may decide to invest in a fireproof safe. However, there are better storage options.
With your bank
There are a number of banks that offer will depository services aside from keeping other valuables. Usually, you would be required to rent a safety deposit box at a set annual rate. While this form of storage is almost theft proof, tamper proof, and confidential, annual charges are usually high. Another key point to note is that some institutions freeze your assets and require a court order to access the boxers after you have passed on; if your will is deposited in your sole name, your beneficiaries may not have immediate access and may need a court order to access the will.
With your lawyer
If you have drafted your will with a lawyer, you may decide to store it with the law firm which has vaults for storing important client documents. Leaving your will with an lawyer is considered a safe and secure option, although you will generally need to pay a fee for your will to be deposited with your lawyer. You should remember to give the name of your lawyer and contact to the executor. This is because if your lawyer moves, dies, or retires, your executor may not know how to locate your will.
Professional Will Custodian Service
This is a specialised service specifically for anyone who wants the safe custody of their will in a safe and secure environment – will custodian service will include keeping a digital copy of your will and the original copy in a fire and waterproof vault for safekeeping.
There are a number of professional will custody agencies in Singapore and of late, it’s a trend that has been catching up. People choose to use will custodian service as it has the following advantages:
At TrustTech, we provide trustworthy will custodian service which avails to you a secure and trustworthy way to store and retrieve your will. You can be assured of total confidentiality when you store your will with us. This protects your loved ones by ensuring that your estate is divided among them according to your wishes while maintaining privacy and confidentiality at all times. Your will will be safeguarded at Certis Cisco, one of the leading security organisations in the world, and TrustTech will ensure that your will is not misplaced, tampered with, stolen or damaged. We will offer you a certificate of custodianship that should be kept by your executor. With this certificate, your executor will be able to access your original will after your passing.
For just a lifetime charge of $380, we ensure your loved ones will safely receive your will upon your demise, all the while maintaining privacy and confidentiality during your lifetime.
Registering your will information
The Wills Registry is maintained by the Public Trustee and allows you to deposit your will information for a $50 fee. You are not allowed to store your will at the Wills Registry, only information relating to the will including the following:
Let your executors know
Whichever option you choose to store your will, it is important that you ensure your chosen executor(s) know of the existence and location of your original will. If your will is damaged or if executors cannot locate it after your demise, your executor may not be able to fulfil your wishes in your will. Your beneficiaries will also be left in a state of uncertainty on how to divide your estate. Therefore, ensuring that your original will is stored in a secure and confidential location is of utmost importance.