As a lawyer who assists clients with the preparation of their Wills, I often get asked by my clients who they should tell they have made a Will. What I tell people is to be sure to tell your Estate Trustee that you have made a Will. If you have an alternate trustee named in case your first choice person is not able to do the job, you should also tell your estate trustee. I provide a few business cards with the copy of the Will that I provide to my clients and recommend to my clients to provide the business card to their Estate Trustee or Trustees.
There are a few reasons that it is important to tell your estate trustee where your Will is – all of those you have named. Often spouses come together to prepare their Wills. It might seem unnecessary then to tell anyone else who prepared your Will, but, if your spouse dies before you or becomes ill such that he or she cannot remember who made the Will, then the named estate trustee may not know who he or she is, the beneficiaries may not know who they are and as such may have difficulty locating the Will.
Often the testator will have a copy of the Will and the original is kept with the lawyer. If the copy of the Will is in a safety deposit box for example, the estate trustee may not know the box exists or may not be able to locate the key or to otherwise access it. If you cannot access the Will you will not be able to look at it to see who is the estate trustee or who the lawyer was who prepared it. You may not even know whether the testator made a Will.
In summary, to ensure your wishes are respected, it is important to tell your Estate Trustee(s) that you made a Will and where the Will can be found.
This article will be relevant for more typical circumstances of testators. If you have concerns about sharing information about your Will with your Estate Trustee(s), you should consult the lawyer who prepared it for you or some other lawyer experienced in the preparation of Wills and the Administration of Estates.
By: Kathleen Robichaud who is a lawyer at the Law Office of Kathleen Robichaud. She has a solicitor’s practice that includes Wills and Estates Administration, Corporate Law and Real Estate.