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Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors

Should My Will Be Kept Secret? Where Should It Be Kept?

30th January 2021

As you age, the feeling of worry creeps in about what will happen to your home and belongings when you die. It is a fact of life human beings pass away, but the possessions accumulated throughout one’s life stay behind for our loved ones to cherish or pass on to others who might appreciate them more. 

The smart thing to do to prepare your relatives for the end of your life is to have a will or trust in place and be sure your wishes will be met. In the event of your passing, a document laying out precisely what you want and what happens to your belongings will make your loved ones’ life less stressful and allow them to focus less on logistics. A will can make life less complicated, and your relatives can grieve without worrying about what to do with your assets left behind. 

However, not everyone may be happy with what you outline in your will or want the will discovered if they are left out of the inheritance for any reason. This makes it challenging when preparing your final wishes, and you need to decide what to do with your will to protect your last decisions.

Your Rights to Privacy and Your Will

Your will is your private, personal wish for what happens to you and your possessions after you pass away. However, people do have these two questions when it comes to keeping their final wishes private.

Question #1. Do I have to tell my family members what is in my will?

The age-old tale of the children being unhappy with the will their parents created occurs more often than you might think. A demand to change the will can come up, and a fight will more than likely ensue. 

This situation can make everyone in the family unhappy and cause rifts that might never heal. The best thing to do in this dynamic is to inform your relatives you have a will and not disclose the contents of the document.

You have no legal obligation to show your will to anyone. The family members may bluster and try to bully you into showing themyou your will’s contents but it is important to stand your ground. You do not have to disclose the contents of the will to anyone.

Question #2. Is my will a public document?

When you create your will, it is not a public document. The legal form is your private wish on paper in the case of your passing. Its contents aren’t known outside of those who you choose to share it with, the solicitor who helped you create it, and yourself. 

The document only becomes public after probate is granted. After your passing, the estate’s executor is the only one allowed to see the will’s contents. Once probate is granted, your will then becomes a public document.  

Places to Keep Your Will

Once you have the legal document in hand, it is often difficult to figure out where you want to keep it. There are a few places you can keep your will, and it is up to you to decide which one is best in your situation.

#1. Your own home

If you have a personal safe at home, it is an excellent option to store your will in your own home. There are no fees, and the document is at your fingertips to look over whenever you feel the need. You can easily modify and adjust your will as needed when your circumstances change.

However, there are some risks involved. If you store it in your home you run the risk of someone reading it without your knowledge, damage to the document, or the will being destroyed if you have a flood or fire in your home. You will also need to ensure that someone you trust will have access to your will after you pass away.

#2. With The Solicitor

After writing your will, you can choose to store it with your solicitor. Solicitors are regulated, giving you recourse if the will is lost or damaged. Storing with a solicitor also ensures that your will can be made available when it’s needed.

Be aware that an additional fee may be needed if you have to store it with the solicitor who didn’t write the document. 

It’s No Secret That You Need a Will

To ensure your estate is taken care of promptly, a will or trust is the best course of action. Your loved ones will be able to handle your last wishes with ease when they are outlined clearly. 
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors are at the ready with an excellent staff to assist you with your will needs.  Contact us for more information about assistance with your will, as well as your other legal needs for probate, lasting powers of attorney, equity release, and settlement agreements.