Signed My Will – Now What?

If you have had a will prepared and signed it with the appropriate formalities, don’t allow communicationsyour family to be the one calling the attorney and saying, “Dad said he had a will, but we cannot find it.”

Family communication is key to many aspects of life and estate planning. If your will leaves your estate in a manner that might seem strange to your family, be sure to tell them ahead of time. Don’t surprise them with a substantial bequest to unfamiliar friends or charities unless you have told them ahead of time. Don’t appoint an unusual executor, trustee or guardian unless you have told family members ahead of time. If you don’t communicate, family members are likely to challenge the will, quarrel among themselves, or have long term strained relationships.

Another key communication issue is to tell your family members, especially the executor, where the original of your will is kept. You might have it in a bank safe deposit box that will never be found. Or it might be thrown out with a bunch of miscellaneous papers that no one thought was important. Be sure the file or envelope you have it in is appropriately and conspicuously labeled and at least a couple trusted people know where it is. If you have no trusted friends, consider filing your will with the county clerk.

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