What are Will Registries?
Some states have created Will registries, also known as registers of Wills, to help residents keep track of the location of their Last Will and Testament. Will registries are state agencies or organizations which will either allow you to store a copy of your Will or store information about where you keep your Will and where family members or estate representatives can find it after you die.
If I’ve created a Will, do I have to store it in the registry?
No. You are under no legal obligation to ever store your will with the state agency. You can create a Will simply by making sure you create a document which complies with all state legal requirements. No state requires registration as part of the Will creation process. If you choose to later use registration service this may help your estate have an easier time finding your Will, but it will not affect the legality of your Will.
What about a Living Will registry?
A Will is a much different document than a Living Will. When you create a Living Will you choose what kind of medical care you want to receive if you are ever unconscious and cannot tell your doctors about your choices in person. Like Will registries, some states have Living Will registries that allow you to file this document in a safe place so that your healthcare providers can later access it. There are also companies which offer the same services. However, like Wills, you are never under any obligation to file with the state agency or company for your Living Will to be valid.