A will, revocable trust, and other estate planning documents are confidential documents. Because they contain sensitive information about a person’s assets and who they want them to go to when they pass, it’s understandable that they may want to keep it to themselves.
But while it may be a good idea to keep a will private and there is no legal obligation on a person’s part to tell anybody about their will, it’s advisable that important people are at least aware that it exists.
Family or at the very least, an estate planning attorney, should know about the will so that the proper measures can be taken when it’s time to execute it! If they are unaware that an estate plan exists, they might go to court without it and ask the default rules to be applied to divide the deceased’s assets.
Important People Should Know That There is a Will and Where It is Located
Family members knowing that there is a will is one thing. But knowing where it is and where they can find it is another. Aside from letting important people know that there is a will or estate planning document in existence, a person should also inform them where it is located or who is holding it.
If it is kept in a drawer where all other important files and documents are, then family members should know to look there. If the will is in a safe deposit box, it’s important that a signer is listed so that they can access the safe deposit box to obtain the will.
If Possible, Inform the Executor
If, and only if, a person is comfortable with it, they can inform their named executor, personal representative, power of attorney, healthcare agent, etc. that they’re going to be in charge of executing the will. This is to make sure that they know that they’re in line for a responsibility when the person passes away.
Why It’s Important That People Know About the Will
It’s crucial that someone knows about the existence of the will and ideally, where it is located, to make sure that the wishes outlined in the document will be followed. If no one is aware of its existence or can’t find the document, there is a strong possibility that the court will use the default rules in the intestacy statutes because of a lost document.