Do I need to file my will at the courthouse? - Raleigh Estate Planning - NC Legacy Planning

Do I need to file my will at the courthouse?

Once your attorney has drafted your will and it has been properly executed with witnesses your will is valid.

In North Carolina wills do not need to be filed at the courthouse until your death. Filing the will at that time is done to start the probate proceeding. However, many counties in North Carolina do allow you to file your will for safekeeping with the Clerk of Court prior to your death. It is not required that you use this service, even when it is offered to you.

Until you pass away, your will should be stored in a safe location. You should make sure that your executor has a copy and knows where to find the original. You should never store your will in your safety deposit box. Retrieving a will from a safety deposit box after your death can require an order from the court and the assistance of the Clerk of Court. This can cause a serious delay in the probate process. Many people store their wills in a lockbox at home, which can be a good option, but only if someone else knows where the key is located.