Your Wills and related estate planning documents should be stored in a secure fire-proof location. It used to be common practice for lawyers to store wills for their clients in their vaults. If the Executor of your Will is a Trust Company they will usually offer to store your documents in their vault.

More commonly today, lawyers will provide the original documents to clients to store themselves. The lawyer will keep a paper and/or electronic copy in your permanent file, in case the originals are ever lost or destroyed. It is recommended that you store your documents in a secure location such as a safety deposit box at your bank or fire-proof safe in your home. Your freezer is not recommended as it is possible your freezer could defrost in a power outage, destroying your documents. If your Wills are in a safety deposit box you may provide an extra key to the box to your Executor or at least provide them a copy of your Wills. The Bank should allow them access when they produce a copy of your Wills.

Alberta does not currently have a formal Wills Registry, (unlike the Province of BC for example). I believe that a private entity tried to create a Wills Registry in Alberta, but it never got off the ground. Make sure that all relevant people know where you store your documents, and it is usually a good idea to provide copies to your Executors.

Wherever you store your documents we recommend you also include a detailed inventory of your assets so that your Executor can easily locate all property. Also, include a list of contact information of all the people and institutions mentioned in your documents. Update these lists often as circumstances change.

If your Wills are ever lost or destroyed, all is not lost:

Surrogate Rules

Lost will

24 If an original will is lost or destroyed but a copy or other evidence of it exists, the court may admit the copy or other evidence to probate if

(a) the will is proved formally under Division 3 of Part 2, or
(b) in the opinion of the court, the will can be adequately identified under this Part.

Please contact us at 403-288-0009 if you have any questions about Wills and estate planning.

Peter Robinson (56 Posts)

Peter G. Robinson is an accomplished and skilled general practice lawyer in Calgary, Alberta. Over his 20 year career, Peter has carved out his niche in Residential Real Estate, Wills & Estate Planning, and Probate Applications.

Uniquely available to his clients, Peter is a calm and patient communicator who easily puts his clients at ease with straight-forward explanations of legal concepts. Blogging is his latest venture to cultivate awareness of NW Calgary Law, a law firm where he is the hands-on leader of an enthusiastic team dedicated to prompt and efficient service.

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The content contained in these blogs is intended to provide information about the subject matter and is not intended as legal advice.

If you would like further information or advice on any of the subjects discussed in this blog post, please contact the author at NW Calgary Law at 403.265.3010 or

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