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Access to original documents helpful to estate administration

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2017 | Estate Administration & Probate

In the wake of the fires ripping across the state, many individuals have lost everything. Not least among the items lost are important documents vital to estate administration. By keeping the documents in a safe place in California, an individual may reduce the likelihood that the estate process will be delayed. 

Some experts recommend storing documents such as a will or a trust in a safety deposit box in a bank. When another person has access to the box, such as the executor or trustee, they will be able to implement the estate plans even if the person’s home has been destroyed by a natural disaster. If the original or a duplicate original will can be located, then the estate may enter probate. However, if the will is missing, and was last thought to be in the possession of the testator, then the missing will is considered revoked. 

Having the original will, or a duplicate of the will, is very important in order to preserve the wishes of the testator. If a person has named someone as a co-owner of the box, after they have obtained the will, they should leave a copy of the will inside the safety deposit box. Any trust documents and power of attorney documents are often found in safety deposit boxes. 

An individual may also be able to use other methods to obtain copies of important documents. To expedite estate administration, originals are typically preferred. Some individuals may be wondering about the legal obligations of maintaining original documents in California. Some individuals use the services of a lawyer for help with these types of issues. 

Source:, “Importance of original estate planning documents“, Dennis Fordham, Oct. 18, 2017


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