Your first will may not be the one that will be submitted to probate. You may need to update it when circumstances change. You can do this either by revoking your existing will and creating a new one or writing a codicil to supplement your current will.
What should you do next after updating your will? Here are four steps to take:
1. Make copies
You should have the original will and copies. Thus, after drafting your new will, you need to make copies. It can be risky to only have the original copy. If it gets lost or someone destroys it, the court may treat your estate as intestate and distribute assets according to the rules of succession. The probate court usually doesn’t accept a will’s copy, but when the original is missing, it may. After making copies, you should mark them as such. This way, the court can differentiate the original from copies (and so can you and your heirs).
2. Put all documents in a safe place
As you did with your previous will, you should put your current one in a safe place. You may use the same location as before or can change it. Popular choices include a home safe, a desk that you use for writing bills or letters, a filing cabinet or with someone that you trust. Any copies you have should also be put in safe places. It’s important to note that safety deposit boxes aren’t practical — because your executor or heirs won’t have access.
3. Inform your executor of the location
If you inform nobody else of your will’s location, make sure that your executor knows where the original is — and give them one of the copies you have made. Make sure that they can access the original without any real difficulty upon your passing.
Estate planning can be more complicated than many people realize. It helps to get legal guidance to avoid mistakes and to make sure that your estate plan will do what you expect.