When New Jersey residents go through the process of planning their eventual estate, it is important to remember that these directives can only be put into place if the guiding documentation is available to those who need to take action in the matter. Simply creating these estate planning documents and then stuffing them into a file box is not the best course of action. Individuals must take the proper steps to ensure that their wishes can be carried out in the manner of their choosing.
In regard to a will, the original document must be presented in order to begin the probate process. If the family is unable to present this copy, it may be impossible to carry out the wishes of the deceased. In some cases, a copy or duplicate can be produced, but this can be a difficult process, especially if there is any form of contest to the will as it stands.
One way to prevent these difficulties is to place the original copy of the will into a safe deposit box. A trusted loved one should be given a key or listed as a co-signatory or co-owner of the box. Once an individual has passed on, this person can access the safe deposit box and present the original copy of the will to the court.
The next steps involve making a copy of the original will and placing that copy within the safe deposit box. No other contents of the box should be removed. A copy of the will should be delivered to the person named as executor within 30 days of the death.
As outlined here, the proper storage of the original copy of one’s will is a serious matter. Those in New Jersey who have gone through the process of drafting estate planning documents must recognize the importance of properly storing that paperwork, so that it can be put into effect when the time comes. Doing so is just one more part of the overall estate planning process.
Source: lakeconews.com, “Estate Planning: Importance of original estate planning documents“, Nov. 15, 2014