Should You File a Will During the Testator's Lifetime?

June 4, 2014

There is a dynamic discourse that exists between Lawline faculty and their viewers that goes far beyond the initial viewing of a program.  Lawline faculty and subscribers benefit from a discussion forum where they can discuss substantive legal topics relevant to the program.

Every week, Sigalle Barness shares some of the top answers faculty have supplied to subscriber questions.  These questions are from real Lawline subscribers viewing Lawline on-demand courses.

An Associates Guide (Part 1): Estate Planning

Question:  "What is your position on filing the will with the county clerk during the lifetime of the testator?"

Answer by Jill Miller: "Whether to file a client's Will would depend upon the individual circumstances.  If the client does not have a safe place for the Will or there is any concern that the Will could be accidentally or intentionally damaged or destroyed, then filing the Will with the Court could be beneficial for the client.  There are other options as well such as storing it in a client's home safe or a safe deposit box where there is another person who would continue to have access to box upon the client's death.

Another factor is the state and probate court of the client's domicile: each state's probate court has different rules, procedures and some may charge a fee to file a Will.  As a practical point, the client's family/beneficiaries need to know that the client filed the Will with the Court.  So each situation should be viewed on a case by case basis on what is in the best interest of the client."


Taken from the Lawline CLE Program entitled "An Associates Guide (Part 1): Estate Planning" presented by Lawline Faculty member Jill Miller.


Please Note: The information available is purely for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this information, web site or any of the links contained within do not create an attorney-client relationship between Lawline, FurtherEd, the Faculty member, the user or browser. 


Author Bio

Written by Sigalle Barness

Sigalle Barness is the Vice President of Content and a member of’s Executive Team. Sigalle provides business strategy and leadership to the company and directly manages Lawline’s accreditation, programming and production operations. Sigalle also analyzes market trends and applies insights to develop and execute written and video content including online educational programming, email marketing, social media campaigns, press releases, blog articles and large scale live events. Sigalle graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University and holds a B.A. in English. She received her J.D. in 2010 from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, NY. Sigalle is admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey. She is also an active member of the Association for Continuing Legal Education (ACLEA), and is the former Chair of ACLEA’s Programming Special Interest Group (2013 – 2015) and National Provider Special Interest Group (2015 - 2017). Before joining Lawline in March 2012, Sigalle litigated civil claims in areas such as landlord tenant, breach of contract and tax lien and mortgage foreclosures actions. She also handled transactional matters such as drafting residential and commercial leases, demand letters, and client conflict waivers. Sigalle is an avid lover of music, video games, blogging, asking questions and all things food. She is also fluent in Hebrew and enjoys writing fiction, traveling and scuba diving.


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