Safe Deposit Boxes
Safe deposit boxes are handy tools. They provide a safe place away from your home or office to store valuables. When renting a safe deposit box, make sure you choose the right size. Many people start by renting a small box only to discover that it quickly becomes filled. You also need to determine who is allowed to access the box. The institution will provide a key (or keys) that must be kept in a safe place, but also a place where you will remember. The contents of a safe deposit box are not insured by the institution.
What to Keep in Your Safe Deposit Box
Safe deposit boxes are the best places to keep items that are valuable. This includes jewelry, cash, stamp and coin collections and negotiable instruments like stock certificates and bonds. They are also good places to keep items that are not replaceable or that have sentimental value. A household inventory (video taped or written), appraisals, listings of insurance policies and credit card numbers should also be kept in a safe deposit box.
Examples of items that are valuable
- Valuable coin and stamp collections
- Negotiable investment instruments like bonds, stock certificates
Examples of items that are not easily replaced
- Family heirlooms, photos or historical records that can not be replaced
- Adoption papers
- Birth certificates
- Citizenship papers
- Military documents
- Divorce papers
Examples of items that should be safe but available
- Vital back up data files from your PC
- Passports, if they are seldom used
- Important contracts and business agreements
- Real estate deeds and mortgages
- Confidential records
- Copies of important financial records that you keep at home
- Copies of wills, living trust documents, powers of attorneys
What Not to Keep in Your Safe Deposit Box
It is important to remember that only you can open your safe deposit box, without a court order. Items that others may need to obtain if you are not present should not be kept in your box.
Original wills, powers of attorney, living trust documents and other trust documents should not be in your safe deposit box. Insurance policies should usually be available and not kept in the box.
Using Your Safe Deposit Box
Use your safe deposit box regularly and keep a list of what it contains.