Some lawyers hang onto the original documents when they do a will, looking to get more work in future and enhance their prospects of being retained for a probate proceeding. This may still work for some of us, but the increased mobility of clients, lawyers, and others has made this goal very elusive.
For myself, I prefer to file the original with the probate court in the county of testator’s residence. It costs 27 bucks, but I think it’s worth it:
- There is no question as to its whereabouts or safety.
- MNCIS, our interconnected court information system, makes a record of the deposit of a will, so it will surface regardless where in Minnesota it’s filed, probated, or the testator moves.
- Confidentiality is assured, since it is in a sealed envelope.
- There’s no worry about the mechanics of safekeeping or “what if something happens to the lawyer?”
- The unpleasant possibilities of destruction by a disgruntled successor or inadvertent loss by the client are avoided;
- If someone else does the probate, I probably won’t even hear about it, so I won’t feel bad.
- The client gets bragging rights, so other potential clients get the impression my client’s lawyer is really good about this stuff.
- I don’t have to worry about the physical safety of hundreds of wills, nor cross-check the obituaries with my stored wills.
Attorney at Law, Minneapolis