Safety deposit boxes can be useful for storing certain valuable items that you don't want to keep in your home or in a home safe. But, there are three things that you absolutely want to avoid putting in a safety deposit box.
The first item to avoid in your safety deposit box is a passport. First of all, access to your box is limited to bank hours. So, what happens if you need a passport for identification purposes or emergency travel, and it's at a time when you don't have access to the bank? You might not be able to get your passport when you need it.
Second, you don't want to keep cash in your safety deposit box. Again, the bank is only open during limited hours. And if you need that cash at a time when the bank is not open, you're going to be out of luck. More importantly, your cash is not as safe in a safety deposit box as it is in a deposit account in the bank. Cash in a safety deposit box is not insured by the government, whereas your checking or savings account in a bank is insured. So, it's actually better and safer just to keep that emergency money in an account, and you can access it regardless of whether or not the bank is open.
#3: Estate Planning Documents
Finally, your estate planning documents, particularly the originals, do not belong in a safety deposit box. The moment you pass away, the bank seals your safety deposit box, and this becomes a problem if your original will is in the box. Your original will is absolutely required to open your estate in court, and if it can't be accessed, then there is a costly process of petitioning the court to open the box and access it. This process is time-consuming, expensive, and totally unnecessary. So, if you want to keep certain copies of important documents in there, that's fine. But do not, under any circumstances, keep your original estate planning documents in there.
If you have questions about safety deposit boxes or anything having to do with your financial or estate plans, feel free to give us a call, drop us an email, or leave us a comment below.