What Not to Store in a Safe Deposit Box?
Safe deposit boxes are useful storage for irreplaceable valuables such as stock certificates, heirlooms, title deeds and family records. But a safe deposit box is the worst place to store items you might need quickly, or when the box holder has died. Find out below what not to put in your safe deposit box.
Original Will and Power of Attorney
When you have passed away, your spouse or partner and your executor will need the originals of these two documents immediately. Upon your death, your safe deposit box will be sealed for the time it takes to get a death certificate and verify the will. A court order will probably be needed to release them. It is a good idea, however, to put a copy of the will in your safe deposit box, clearly marked as a "copy". File the originals in a home safe or with your lawyer.
Medical Instructions for Long Term Care or Resuscitation
Medical instructions about your care as you age, or about life-sustaining measures to take if you are in an accident, may be needed very suddenly. Put a copy of these instructions in your safe deposit box, but leave the originals with your lawyer or a trusted family member.
All of the aforementioned may be needed quickly, or at times when the bank is not open. By all means put copies of all personal ID in your safe deposit box, in case of fire, theft or flood damage to your home. Ensure they are unmistakably indicated as copies.
Cash in Large Amounts or Big Bills
Never store cash in your safe deposit box. Large amounts of cash should be deposited to a GIC for safekeeping, and should accrue interest.
Put In the Box:
•Valuables, Collectibles and Other Irreplaceable Items
•These should go in the safe deposit box, but photograph them, and write a detailed description before putting them in the box. This will help you identify them and prove ownership if they are damaged, lost or stolen. Leave a copy of the photos in a home safe or with your lawyer.
•Keep jewelry, medals and fragile collectibles in their original boxes when storing.
Original Stock and Bond Certificates
•Copy the originals before putting in the safe deposit box. Leave the copies with your financial advisor or lawyer. If the originals are destroyed due to fire or flood, you will need to pay a substantial fee to get new originals issued.
•Safeguard the Safe Deposit Box Contents
•Wrap all paper documents, including the contents checklist, in resealable plastic bags before putting in the box. This will prevent water damage from sprinkler systems in a fire, or from flooding of the basement vault.
Suspected Theft If the box appears tampered with when you get it, report it immediately. Do not try to open it. If, when you open it, items are missing, report the suspected theft to the bank manager. Be sure bank employees follow regulations about handling your safe deposit box. If they behave suspiciously, report them at once.
What else to store in Safe Box.
In troubled economic times, people not only choose to move their money out of the bank but their safe deposit box items as well. Safe deposit box locations outside banks are growing in number as people become concerned with not only the solvency of their bank, but the possibility of identity theft. Here are some innovative ideas about where to rent a safe deposit box outside a bank.
To Store Precious Items and Heirlooms
Private storage firms can rent you a safe deposit box for a year at a time to store items you want to pass on to your children, or rare collectibles you are holding for their future market value. You may only need one piece of identification to open a box account for your use.
You will also hold the only key. In the event of payment default, the box will be opened by dismantling the lock.
Two private safe deposit companies are located in Vienna, Austria, and Prague in the Czech Republic. Noted for their discretion, entry to their vaults is by electronic card at the main door. You can authorize anyone to access your box, simply by giving them the key and card.
Tax havens are also noted for their discreet policies regarding money and valuables. These include the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands (south of England), Luxembourg and Switzerland. Simply open a bank account and pre-authorize payments for your safe deposit box.
If you choose to store personal valuables such as jewelry and stock certificates in a bank, be aware that safe deposit box contents do not meet FDIC and CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corp.) insurance eligibility. Add a special rider to your household insurance to protect the contents of your safe deposit box.
To Store Property Information
For the present, your local bank, where you are known and have an account, is the place to keep a full copied set of your title deeds, car ownership, and insurance. Keep the originals of your car ownership and all insurance documents at home for quick access.
To Store Personal Information
Your bank can rent you a small safe deposit box for these papers. If you have been a customer there for a few years, you may be eligible for the first year rent-free, and a reduced rental rate thereafter.
Private storage is not recommended for personal information documents. These companies deal with many people who want to remain outside the law. They are also mobile, and can close up business tomorrow, leaving your personal information in limbo, or disposed of in a dumpster.
If you are storing only information, online safe deposit systems are becoming popular. Scan your passport, credit card numbers, visas and transportation tickets, photograph your luggage and its contents, and send the whole lot by secure e-mail to an online safe deposit company. You need only a password and box ID number to access your stored items immediately from any computer terminal. If your passport is stolen, you can obtain replacement papers much faster than having to wait for copies to arrive from home.