Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Where is the Original Copy of your Will?

You should let someone know where your original Will is stored.  If one cannot be found after a person dies, a court may decide it was destroyed.  Dying without a Will means intestacy will rule the day and, in that case, state law determines how probate assets will pass.

It may be a good idea to keep a copy of the Will in a safe deposit box, but if you put the original there, it may be difficult to retrieve it after death.  Most states require that safe deposit boxes be sealed after the renter dies and a Personal Representative will need to be appointed in order to gain access to the box.

Other places to store your will include:

  • Store an original in the office of the Register of Wills in the County where you reside.
  • Have your attorney and/or your accountant retain the original will.  Some law offices will retain the original in a Will safe file.
  • Store the will at home in a safe place.  While there is a possibility that the Will could be lost, inadvertently destroyed, or discovered by an interested party who could deliberately destroy or conceal it, this is generally not a huge risk.



As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.



Steve Shane Casual | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts, and a charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation, and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.






Offit Kurman, one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. With 15 offices and nearly 250 lawyers who counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice, Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration. For more information, visit