Do Lawyers Keep Original Copies of Wills? (What You Need To Know)

Learn what lawyers do with original copies of wills. Understand the importance and implications of storing these documents. Get informed now!

Do Lawyers Keep Original Copies of Wills? (What You Need To Know)

When planning your estate, one crucial question often arises: Do lawyers keep original copies of wills? It's a vital consideration, as the safety and accessibility of your will can significantly impact how smoothly your estate is handled after your passing.

Traditionally, many individuals entrust their lawyers with their original wills, relying on the legal expertise and secure facilities of law firms to safeguard these important documents. However, as we advance into the digital age, new and more flexible options for storing important legal documents have emerged.

This article explores traditional and modern approaches to storing wills, examines the role of lawyers in this process, and introduces digital alternatives that might better suit your needs.

Traditional Handling of Wills

Traditionally, it is common for lawyers to keep the original copies of their clients’ wills. This practice has several benefits:

  • Security: Law firms often have secure facilities like safes or fireproof cabinets, which offer protection against theft, loss, or damage.
  • Professional Oversight: Lawyers can ensure that the will is not tampered with or altered without the necessary legal procedures.
  • Ease of Probate: Having a lawyer possess the original will can simplify the probate process, as the lawyer can provide the will promptly when required.

However, this practice isn't without its drawbacks, including:

  • Risk of Physical Damage: Physical documents are susceptible to damage from fire, water, or natural disasters, rendering a will unreadable and legally void.
  • Security Concerns: Traditional storage methods may be vulnerable to theft or loss. Important documents like wills can fall into the wrong hands or be misplaced without adequate security measures like safes or secure filing systems.
  • Accessibility Issues: Accessing a physical will can be time-consuming and inconvenient, especially if stored in a bank safety deposit box or with a law firm with limited operating hours.
  • Probate Delays: If the original will is not readily available or is questioned in its authenticity due to damage or tampering, it can lead to significant delays in the probate process, prolonging the distribution of assets.
  • Updating Difficulties: Making changes to a will stored traditionally can be cumbersome. It often requires retrieving the original document, making amendments, and ensuring it is safely stored, which can discourage timely updates.
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    Each of these challenges highlights the limitations of traditional methods for storing wills and underscores the benefits of modern, digital alternatives like secure online platforms.

    Who Keeps the Original Copy of a Will?

    Besides lawyers, there are several options for storing an original will:

    • Personal Safes: Some choose to keep their wills in a safe at home. While readily accessible, this option requires robust security measures to protect against fire, water damage, or theft.
    • Safety Deposit Boxes: A bank's safety deposit box is another secure option, though it can be less accessible in urgent situations or outside bank hours.
    • Probate Courts: In some jurisdictions, it's possible to deposit your will with the probate court for safekeeping.

    The Role of Digital Storage in Estate Planning

    As digital solutions become more prevalent, platforms like WillBox are revolutionizing how we store important documents like wills. WillBox offers a secure, accessible alternative to traditional storage methods:

    • Immediate Access: Authorized parties can access Digital copies of wills quickly, regardless of geographical constraints.
    • High-Level Security: Using advanced encryption methods, digital vaults protect documents against physical damage and unauthorized access.
    • Simplicity in Estate Management: Digital platforms allow for easy updates and modifications to your will and other estate planning documents.

    Incorporating WillBox into Your Estate Planning

    Using WillBox to store an original copy of a will and other crucial estate documents ensures that your digital legacy is as well protected as your physical one. Here’s how to integrate WillBox into your estate planning:

    • Digitize Your Documents: Securely upload digital versions of your legal documents, including your will, trust agreements, and power of attorney, to your WillBox account.
    • Set Access Permissions: Specify who can access these documents and under what conditions, ensuring that your estate is managed according to your wishes.
    • Update As Needed: Easily make changes to your stored documents as your life circumstances or estate planning goals evolve.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Storing Your Original Will

    Should I store my original will with a lawyer or use a digital vault?
    Storing your will with a lawyer has traditional benefits, but a digital vault like WillBox offers enhanced accessibility and security. Consider your needs for accessibility, security, and peace of mind when deciding.
    How secure is a digital vault for storing wills?
    Digital vaults like WillBox use state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols to ensure your documents are safe from unauthorized access and physical damage.
    Can I store other important documents in WillBox?
    Yes, WillBox is designed to store a variety of digital assets, including legal documents, financial records, and personal directives, providing a comprehensive solution for estate management.
    Choosing the Right Storage for Your Will
    Deciding whether to keep your original copy of a will with a lawyer or to utilize a digital storage solution like WillBox depends on your specific needs for security, accessibility, and peace of mind. As digital solutions like WillBox offer significant advantages in flexibility and security, they represent a forward-thinking choice for ensuring your estate is handled according to your wishes.

    Ensure your estate planning documents, including your will, are secure and accessible by choosing WillBox. Register today to discover how easy and reliable it is to manage and protect your digital legacy alongside your traditional assets.

    Our service

    At, we provide a complete digital estate planning service that helps you organize and manage your digital assets, so they can be accessed and transferred by your loved ones after you pass away or become incapacitated. Our service includes creating a digital inventory, determining who will have access, providing instructions on how to manage your assets, and securely storing your digital estate plan.

    Subscribe to our service today, and gain peace of mind that your legacy will be protected.