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Wills must be properly stored in order to be effective

Completing the estate planning process is often a source of great relief, and most Oklahoma residents will rest easier knowing that their family will be taken care of when the time comes. However, there is a component of successful estate planning that many people overlook, but which is vitally important. Proper storage of wills, trusts and other estate planning documents is essential to a positive outcome.

It seems like a simple and basic matter to store one's documents in a safe place. However, many families run into difficulty when the time comes to access these documents. In some cases, family members can engage in heated arguments over their loved one's last wishes. If there is no paper trail documenting those wishes, the matter can end up going before a court of law.

One way to ensure that estate planning documents are properly stored is to work with an attorney to complete the package and have that individual retain a copy of all paperwork for storage purposes. Another method of document preservation involves scanning all pages of each document. The resulting files can be stored either electronically or on some form of removable media, such as a disk or hard drive.

Finally, an additional layer of protection lies in creating a master list of all estate planning documents. It is important to include a list of any previous wills or other documents that the new versions are intended to replace. By having these details clearly outlined and properly stored, Oklahoma families can help avoid contention that might arise in the time after a loved one's death.

Source:, "Estate Planning: Safeguarding original copies is critical", Larry Deason, June 8, 2015

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