Making your Will Work

Tip – It’s vital that you take care of the original Will.

One thing to consider after you have prepared your Will is this—where do I keep it? If you have taken the time and made the effort to plan for the future by having a Will, it makes sense to do a couple of important things. It is vital that you take care of the original Will, and that the person who will act as your Personal Representative knows exactly where it is. Too many times, the Personal
Representative is forced to look all through the house trying to find the original Will, or worse yet, resort to calling local law offices to see if they might have it.

Many people think that if you have a Will, you don’t have to probate. This is a misconception. When you have a Will, the person you named as your Personal Representative must file your Will with the Court and be appointed as your Personal Representative. If your Personal Representative has your original Will, the Court uses an informal probate process, which in Idaho is quick and simple. However, if the original Will cannot be located, and your Personal Representative submits a copy of the Will, the Court will use a formal probate process, which entails many more steps and costs more money. In the formal probate process heirs are notified, a Court Hearing is held, and the heirs have the burden of establishing the facts to prove that the Will is valid or invalid.

In a formal probate process, the Court may determine that a copy of a Will is valid if the proceeding is unopposed. However, if the Court determines that the Will is not valid, the property in the estate will then be distributed according to the laws of the State of Idaho—not the terms of the Will. In that case, the property of the deceased may go to persons that he or she did not intend for it to go to.

I like to keep a Will in an Estate Planning Binder along with all other legal documents, deeds, information about your property, investments and insurance policies, and instructions to the Personal Representative. However you safeguard your Will, the important thing is to let the person who will be handling your affairs know where it is.

So, when it comes to your original Will, taking care of it will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

March 2024