Oops! I cannot remember where I left my will

Lives change. People move. They forget where they put important items, such as wills or jewelry. Even something relatively simple, such as selling a desk or piece of furniture, can lead to a forgotten will in the furniture leaving your possession.

If you are one of those people who cannot remember where you left your will, you should not panic. Here is a look at what you can do.

You need an original

First, know that photocopies of your will likely will not hold muster in court. The court must see the original, signed will. However, if you have photocopies of your will and everything is remaining the same, you can have a new one drawn up based on information in the photocopies.

In your new will, you can use language revoking all previous wills and codicils to cover your bases that there is no question this new will is the one you are following.

Is it time to revise your will?

If you cannot remember where you left your will, then odds are good that it is out of date anyway. In as few as five years, potential heirs could have married, had children, divorced, died or a lot of other things. Likewise, new people you would like to recognize in your estate planning endeavors may have entered your life.

Do not wait too long

If you are in good health, you may treat a missing will as a nuisance that you will get around to fixing sooner or later. Aim for sooner because no one ever knows what could happen in the next few days, and all people deserve to have their wishes carried out the way they would want.

Safeguard the next will

Once you have a new will, make arrangements that you are not at risk of forgetting. For example, you could keep the will with your attorney or in a fireproof and waterproof safe, and give the combination to several trusted people. Hiding your will only means that people may never find it and that you might forget where it is.

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