Does the attorney who draws up a Will, keep a copy in his/her files?

Asked on August 13, 2013 under Estate Planning, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

An attorney may keep a copy of a Will in their files but is not required by law to do so. The fact is that the safest place to keep the original copy of your Will is in a bank safe deposit box. However, it may not always be the most practical place since it may be difficult for your family to access the box after your death. Another option is to keep it at home in a fire-proof safe (just make sure your family knows how to open it). Also, you may file your Will in your local probate or surrogate's court for safekeeping.  It is usually not a good idea to give a copy to family members or friends because you may want to change the distributions at some point.

Note: If your attorney does keep the original copy of your Will, make sure they receive updated contact information from you if you move (and an updated copy, if applicable). Additionally, if you update your Will, make sure that you also file it with the court if there is already a previous Will on file there.

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