Hi, Lorie Burch here, your go to Wills & trusts attorney. Getting your Will set up is great, but now what? Well, once you’ve congratulated yourself on some major adulting, there are a few things we recommend you do to ensure your family and loved ones are prepared. Here are 3 tips on what you should do once you sign your Will.
When clients walk out of my office after they’ve signed their Wills and powers of attorney, I often imagine they go home and put their folder in a cabinet or safe and then don’t think about it again. But one of the first things you should do is Tell your Executor and Agents. Now I know it may seem exciting like a Lifetime movie where your friends don’t realize you named them to raise your kids until you’ve passed. But in reality, you really should make sure you 1. Let them know you named them, 2. Tell them where you keep your documents, and 3. Make sure they could access them in an emergency.
And that leads to the second tip of what to do once you’ve signed your Will: Decide the best place for you to keep your documents. It is REALLY important to make sure your originals to not get lost or damaged, and they don’t typically get filed anywhere. I know that’s scary, and in a pinch, you can use a copy, but don’t rely on that. It is much harder to use copies. I generally recommend keeping your documents in a safe location at home – preferably a fire-proof safe.
Some suggest keeping your documents in a safe deposit box, but there can be an issue gaining access to it once you’ve passed as they often get frozen and what do you need to get it opened? The very Will that is in it! If you decide to keep your estate planning documents in a safe deposit box, consider adding a family member or your executor to have access.
Another problem with safety deposit boxes is you may need your documents when the bank is not open. I even had a client who couldn’t access her Will to review because the bank was closed due to COVID.
Finally, my last tip for what to do once you’ve signed your Will is to Provide a Will memorandum with vital information and instructions. A Will memorandum provides useful information such as where you keep important paperwork (deeds, birth certificates, financial/banking information), people to contact (CPAs, financial planners, attorneys, doctors, friends, family), bank accounts, and your user names and passwords. Additionally, the Will memorandum allows you to keep a list of specific items you may want given to certain people. Please understand a Will memorandum is not legally binding, but it will greatly assist your family and loved ones with handling your affairs and fulfilling your wishes.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: I finally got my Will in place, why do I have to do all this extra work? I know, but if you truly want things to be as easy and as simple as possible, then don’t put a fork it in yet, it’s not done!
At Burch Law, we have developed an online Will memorandum app that you can fill out this information, hit submit, and boom, you’ve drafted your Will memorandum! Want to update it? No problem, either log back into the app or edit the Word document that gets generated. For more information, follow the link or reach out to us.
This is the best way to provide protection for your family, peace of mind for you.
And remember: if you don’t have a Will, the state of Texas has one for you!