Securing safety deposit boxes could help to keep personal documents, heirlooms, and collectibles safe. But, what items should you really store in a safety deposit box and which should you not?
Things That Should and Should Not Go in Your Safety Deposit Box
Safety deposit boxes are a great place to secure your assets that you do not need access to on a regular basis or won’t need in a sudden emergency.
Some things you should store include:
- Rare collectibles
- Coin collections
- Personal documents
- Stamp collections
- Important business papers and contracts
Keep in mind that if you decide to rent a safety deposit box at a bank, you may only have access to your assets during banking hours.
You should not, therefore, store any items that you may need in an emergency or on short notice, such as:
- Powers of attorney
- Medical directives
- Living wills
- Health care documents
Are Your Assets Secured?
A safety deposit box is in a vault, but it depends on the facility whether or not your assets in the box are insured. Visit Australasian Vaulting Industries in Sydney or similar facilities to find out more.
In some instances, such as at banks, you may have to pay for insurance yourself.
A good idea when storing any valuable items is to include a special rule or policy to your contents or homeowner’s insurance policy to specifically cover valuable items in a safety deposit box.
Other ways to safeguard your assets: if you store items that may be damaged by water, be sure to place them in a water-safe, zip lock bag and then seal the bags inside a Tupperware container.
For things like personal papers and family photographs, make electronic copies and leave instructions on how others can access them.
Who Should Have Access to Your Safety Deposit Box?
You can open a safety deposit box on your own for yourself, with someone else, or even with several people. Some facilities will also accommodate as many individuals as you may like. If you do choose to have co-lessors, keep in mind that those people would have rights and access to all of the contents that are equal to your access rights.
Some places might let you to set up a special access so that all of your lessors must be present to open the safety deposit box. However, it’s a good idea to have a power of attorney who can access the box should you be unable to do so.
It is also a good idea to keep a list or an inventory of the content of the safety deposit box and remember to revise it each to you take something out or put something new in it.
If you are the only person to rent and have access to the box, be sure that your heirs or family know where it is and where to find the inventory for the box.
What Happens if You Die?
If there are several names on the account for the box, the box will still remain available. However, if you die, your executor may demand to access the box. If it’s just you that rents the box, it may be sealed in case you die, and it could be months before it is opened. That means your attorney won’t be able to gain access to the box and manage your estate. However, it is vital to have an executor appointed to handle such things.