When thinking of where to store your will, it is important that you think of storing it in a secure place that will be safe from fire, water damage and theft. Your will should also be accessible to your executor after you pass away.
A vast majority of Canadians store their will in a safety deposit box at the bank or with the law firm that drafted their will (typically placed in a fireproof safe). Another common place to store your will is with your local court.
It is important to ensure that your executor will be able to obtain your will upon your death in order to wind up your estate. You should leave instructions with your bank on how your executor can obtain your original will. Typically, your executor will need to approach the bank with your death certificate, or a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will, along with a photocopy of your will if they have one.
The lawyer who drafted your will should have a fireproof safe on site and is a secure place to store your will. If you have appointed a trust company, you can also store your will with the company.
In Ontario, you also have the option of leaving your will with the court registrar for safekeeping. The court registrar will notify the estate registrar for the province of Ontario of the registration. The estate registrar has an electronic record of all registered wills that is accessible by all courts in Ontario. Until the person who made the will dies, no one other than the testator can have access to this database. However, after their death, people can search the database at the local courthouse.
Whatever your preference is to store your will, it is critical to inform your executor of where you have stored your will in order to avoid delays in the administration of your estate.