Generally speaking, there is nothing illegal about creating and distributing multiple copies of your last will and testament. Furthermore, it may be within your rights to give signed copies of this document to your Pennsylvania attorney or other trusted individuals. However, it may not be in your best interest to do so.

You don’t need to disclose your intimate thoughts

Your will may contain private or sensitive information that you don’t want anyone to know about while you are still alive. In some cases, it may contain information about your family or beneficiaries that doesn’t need to be disclosed until the start of the probate process.

Therefore, it may be best to keep a copy of your will in a secure location that only you have access to until your death. Of course, you should let your executor or another trusted person know where your will is and how to access it after you pass. It is also a good idea to talk to your family about your estate plan goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Multiple wills can make probate harder than it needs to be

In most cases, making changes to your will is a relatively straightforward process. However, this may not be the case if you have already distributed signed copies of what will soon be an outdated document. If you forget to have those other copies destroyed, there is a chance that your adult child, attorney or estate executor might present the old version of your will to a probate judge. This may result in a probate process that is longer and more expensive than it needs to be.

An estate planning attorney can explain the pros and cons of signing multiple copies of your will. He or she can also explain why it needs to be signed to be considered a valid expression of your final wishes, and to comply with state law. Your attorney might be willing to keep a copy of this document in his or her office for safe keeping on either a temporary or permanent basis. Our office regularly stores original wills for clients.