You’ve signed your will but you’re not done yet.

You did the right thing – you planned it out, thought ahead, completed your will and signed it with all the appropriate formalities. Don’t allow your family to be left wondering, looking, and asking others "Mom said she had a will, but we have no idea where it is."

Communication with family is key to many aspects of life but also estate planning. If your will leaves your estate in a manner that might seem strange to your family, be sure to tell them ahead of time. Do not surprise them with a substantial gift to unfamiliar friends or charities unless you have told them ahead of time. The same goes with your choice for executor, trustee or guardians - don’t make unusual or unexpected choices without informing family members ahead of time. If you don’t communicate, your family members may be likely to challenge the will, argue among themselves, or at best have long term strained relationships.

Lastly, be sure to tell your family members, especially the executor, where the original of your will is kept. You might have it in a bank safe deposit box that will never be found. Those are generally not a good choice as some states seal those upon death and require a formal process to reopen and distribute the contents. Your will might be thrown out with a bunch of miscellaneous papers that no one thought was important. Ensure the file or envelope you kept it is appropriately labeled and at least a couple trusted people know where it is. Another option is to file your will with the county clerk. You’ll find that most municipalities offer this service for a nominal fee.