Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Keeping Wills in Safety Deposit Boxes

Is it a good idea to keep your original will in your safety deposit box at a bank or other financial institution? Will your executor have difficulty getting the will after your death from your safety deposit box?

In my experience in British Columbia, executors have not had difficulties getting original wills out of the safety deposit box.

The procedure is set out in section 118 of the Estate Administration Act, RSBC 1996, c. 122. The executor must make an inventory of the contents of the safety deposit box in the presence of a representative of the bank. The executor must also leave a copy of the inventory with the bank. After making the inventory, the executor is then entitled to remove the original will and any copies.

If the safety deposit box is jointly held, the surviving joint holder can also make an inventory, and then remove the will.

It is important that the executor knows where the will is located, especially if the deceased had not filed a wills notice with the Wills Notice Registry.

It is helpful if the executor has access to a copy of the will to show the bank representative that he or she has been named as the executor.

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