The second annual Where’s Your Will? Day is on the horizon and it’s the perfect opportunity to start conversations around the importance of making and safely storing your Will.
So, where exactly is your Will? Have you squirreled it away somewhere so not even you can find it?
Investing time and money in making a Will is fruitless if it can’t be found after you’ve gone.
Some organised testators make the whereabouts of their original Will known to their executor, however, many keep information about their Will a secret. The Public Trustee often gets calls from the family and friends of a loved one, who are frantically searching for their lost or undiscoverable Will.
While the Public Trustee doesn’t know where every Will is, it is custodian of moer than 121,500 Wills safely stored in its WA Will Bank, a free community service for all Western Australians.
By storing your Will in a safe place, where your loved ones will find it, you minimise the risk that others think you have died intestate (without a Will), in which case your estate would be distributed by law, and possibly not at all as you had intended.
Etta Palumbo, WA’s best known public speaker on Wills, and Director at the Public Trustee, knows only too well the problems that can arise for family and loved ones when a Will cannot be found.
“Ensuring that your Will is stored correctly is a simple process that can give enormous peace of mind”, she said.
“The most common places people store their Wills are at home, with trustee companies, legal firms and banks, however, this can be problematic. For example, if your lawyer dies, sells their business, moves or changes their name, your Will could be lost in transition”.
“Equally, storing your Will in a safety deposit box might sound like a good idea, however, if there is no surviving signatory, for someone to retrieve your Will they will need a Grant of Probate, but to get Grant of Probate, you need the original Will, which is in the safety deposit box”.
“Storing your Will at home can also be fraught with danger. What if your house burns down, your loved ones don’t find it, or worse, one of them is first to find it and tampers with it or destroys it?”
Ms Palumbo advises that The WA Will Bank, is the logical place to look when someone passes away. Managed by the Public Trustee, it is a free community service that holds Wills in safekeeping in the Public Trustee’s secure, fire suppressed, secretly located physical and digital vaults.
Depositing your Will in the WA Will Bank is easy, says Ms Palumbo. “Simply complete the WA Will Bank Deposit Form on our website www.publictrustee.wa.gov.au, and take this, along with your original Will and two forms of current identification to the Public Trustee office. Alternatively, you can also deposit your original Will by registered post, details are on our website.”
The Public Trustee & the WA Will Bank | The Public Trustee offers a wide range of products and services that are designed to help people make informed choices about making and storing their Wills and planning the future administration of their financial affairs and estate.
For more information visit www.publictrustee.wa.gov.au