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FYI for everyone, make sure you have a copy of your LO will. My mother for years has said hers was in her lock box at the bank and one in a lockbox at her house. She is in AL now but still has her house. Recently we checked and in her Alzheimer's addled mind she has gotten friends to take her and her wheelchair to both locations and hide her will. Her attorney has retired and apparently she never filed the will so she basically was intestate. My mother was a CPA and definitely knows better. Or so we assumed because we had POA and living wills on file.


This was a potential nightmare nipped in the bud. My advice is to make sure you have or can get to an actual copy or a LWT not just a living will which expires with the person.

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What some larger law firms are doing, they present the client with a 3-ring binder with a copy of the legal documents, the originally signed copies, plus a CD disc also with the documents on said disc.

At one time I gave my parents a large red 3-ring binder with pages of questions that I hope they would answer. Under one section I asked about burial instructions... I rolled my eyes when Dad only wrote "Iowa".... oh great, thanks for narrowing down the State. Ah, I need more information, Dad. Dad assumed I knew about the family plot as I was there one time... yep, back when I was 7 or 8 years old.

Anyway, I filled out my own red 3-ring binder which is easy to find, plus the binder from the Elder Law Attorney. No hiding stuff in bank safe deposit boxes or in a strong-box in the closet. But then again, I am an only child with no children. My POA knows where everything is located. And I hope I don't do the hide and seek with my Will or final plans as I get older !!
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I hate to say it - but as far as legalities go a copy of the will doesn't mean squat. For filing probate you must have the original will. At least that's the law in Oregon.

For some mysterious reason my father got into his safety deposit box about two months before he passed. The only thing he took out was the will. My guess is that because he had just been placed on palliative care he was intending to get the will for us - making it easier for us - that was his way.

Anyhoo - we never did find it. For the most part it didn't matter as my mother was named beneficiary on all but one account. That account turned into a mini nightmare but my brothers and I knew daddy wanted our mom to inherit everything so there was no squabbling over the account. We did however, have to hire an attorney and file papers that we all agreed that mom was the intended beneficiary. Since all the other accounts had been transferred already to my mom - we filed under "small estate" and it worked out in the end. Minus legal fees and a chunk of time.

Of note - both my parents attorney and I had an official copy of the will - but it made no difference.

So know where the original will is being kept. The only use I can think of for a copy - legally speaking - is that if push comes to shove - a copy can at least show a judge what the persons intentions were.
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Something else to think about, having the only copy of a Will and funeral instructions in a safe deposit box can be problematic since it will be locked down until the executor/agent produces a death certificate and paperwork that proves they have a right to the contents.
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My mother was POA for a younger brother..my uncle reassured my mom he had a Will and prepaid funeral. My mother asked where the Will was and what funeral home did he choose. He told her it was taken care of and not to worry about it. We went to his bank, he had a safety deposit box. Had to get it drilled opened, there was nothing in it, not even a dust bunny. No deed for the house, no Will, birth certificate or any other important papers. My mom's youngest brother went to my uncles house, no papers of any kind could be found. A cousin got in touch with my mom with the name of the funeral home my uncle went to. It was really stressful for my mom. My mom has all her ducks in a row for when the time comes.
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Wow! What is the point of having a will if no one knows where it is? Thanks for the warning!
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