The Importance of Keeping Your Original Will in a Vault

Tuesday, Dec 18 2018 03:53 PM

Death is devastating. The last thing one would want is to add more grief to their loved ones by making them agonise about how to manage their assets after death. That is why many write a will, to make this transition easier.

So, you have hashed out how your assets will be divided with your lawyer. The next important step is to decide where to store your will.

In Singapore, only the original will is recognised in court. Getting the court to admit a copy or a draft is a long, uncertain process that will financially tax your beneficiaries (the persons or entities who are entitled to receive the benefits upon the death of the benefactor). It is imperative that both your executor (the person who is going to execute and carry out your will) and your beneficiaries know where you store your will. Surprisingly enough, many do not share such information, says Rina Kalpanath Singh of Kalco Law.

There are several options available for will-keeping purposes: banks, home safe deposit boxes, filing it at the court, and private safe facilities. Will-owners should carefully review the pros and cons of each one before making the final decision.

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Should you place your will in a home safe deposit box?

Some people choose to keep their will close, mistaking proximity for ease of access. While having safe deposit boxes at home are ideal for jewellery and passports, they are not the best choice for wills. Singapore may be one of the safest regions but we cannot be too sure when it comes to natural disasters. We did experience a few flash floods in recent years, which can cause much damage to the safe deposit box and its contents. On top of that, these safe deposit boxes can be easily accessed and stolen by burglars.


Should you keep it with your executor or lawyer?

Most people who do not want to leave their wills with the banks or at home will leave them with their designated executors or lawyers. Some companies and law firms who specialise in will writing may offer will-keeping services. However, will-owners should make sure that these institutions can stand the test of time. There is the possibility of firms closing down without any contingency plans for how to handle or manage your stored will.


Should you place your will in a bank?

Twenty years ago, the only places to leave valuable documents would either be your bank, if not some personal home vault you installed by yourself. Most, given the inherent risks of a home safe deposit box, would choose to keep their wills in a bank’s safe-deposit box.

Although a common practice, keeping original wills in a bank has its disadvantages. Storing wills with banks often makes it difficult for your lawyer—and therefore your beneficiaries—to get them on time, if at all. “When a person dies, you may not be able to get to it,” said T. Randolph Harris, a lawyer at McLaughlin & Stern in New York who specializes in estate and trust planning.

In Singapore, banks will freeze your accounts, including safe deposit boxes, in the event of your death. Lawyers have to file a court order to retrieve the contents of the box, which could take a long time. Between the prolonged time before receiving your assets and lawyer’s fees, will retrieval from banks often becomes a costly and tiring affair for your beneficiaries.


Will registering my will with the Will Registry be enough?

Filing your will at the court or the Ministry of Law’s Will Registry ensures that your executor and beneficiaries do not have to go through a wild goose chase for your will.

Yet storing your will with the Will Registry merely ensures that your beneficiaries and executors know that you made a will, who wrote it up for you, and where you might have kept it. The registry does not store wills, neither the original or a copy of it.


Should you place your will in a third-party vault?

Today, advances in robotics and biometrics give many alternative options for securing original copies of their will: fully automated safe deposit boxes stored away in a secure vault such as Vault@268. There are many advantages of putting your will in a secure, independent vault. One of them is accessibility. Unlike banks, private vaults like Vault@268 stay open 24/7, ensuring you or your beneficiaries have access to your will in the event of unfortunate circumstances leading to your death.

Advanced security measures are often baked into the infrastructure of private vaults. Traditional banks usually take longer to plan and roll out new features, because it requires updating legacy systems. Private vaults, in comparison, have the advantage of being able to integrate updates faster. Most private vault facilities are fully-automated. To maximize privacy, no human attendants are present at Vault@268, and renters have to go through multiple layers of verification: RFID, a password, a biometric face scan, and a key. Only then will the vault itself fetch their safe deposit box.

Private vaults also often offer other complimentary services that suit will storage. For instance, Vault@268 offers a complimentary Will Custodian Service for every safe deposit box renter. Unlike banks, whose laws often delay retrieving wills, the Will Custodian streamlines the procurement and processing of the will in the event of your death. Vault@268 works hand-in-hand with financial lawyers, will writers, and fiduciary services to ensure the best coverage for renters who choose to store their original wills in the vault.

Vault@268 invites everyone looking for a safe deposit box facility in Singapore. It is located in the heart of Orchard Road and was constructed from the ground up with security at its core. The vault is kept behind specially reinforced, 8-inch thick concrete. The walls are certified by the European Security Systems Association (ESSA), ensuring maximum security. The facility itself is monitored by video surveillance units and is linked to the fire command centre.

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To find out more about Vault@268, visit or call (+65) 67377268 to speak to their Vault Manager. Alternatively, you can drop by the vault for a free demonstration at 268 Orchard Road #B1-01 Singapore 2388856.

Vault@268, where Privacy Meets Protection™


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