A safe deposit box is simply a locked box at your bank. Only you and the people you designate have access to the box. If you have an account with a bank, many times one of the perks is access to a safe deposit box. Even if you do end up having to pay for one, it only costs a few dollars a month, which is well worth it to keep your things protected so you don't have to worry about them.
It's easy to access the box. Simply take the key to the bank, sign a form, and the bank employee directs you to your safe deposit box. All information about your safe deposit box and who has access to it should be kept in your Legacy Drawer.
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When you list out who has access to your safe deposit box, make sure you include your spouse. A lot of people simply assume their spouse has access to it, but that isn't the case. If the name isn't listed, the person isn't able to open the box. It's a pain, but it's for your own protection.
A general rule of thumb on what items you should put in the safe deposit box is: If you can't replace it or if it's really expensive to replace, then it should go in the box. However, here's a more detailed list of items to include.
- Copy of your last will and testament
- Deeds, titles and insurance papers for your house, car and other personal property
- Birth and adoption certificates
- Marriage and death certificates
- Custody agreement and divorce decrees
- Military service records
- Copy of your health information (vaccinations, hospitalizations)
- Copy of power-of-attorney forms (if applicable)
- Social Security cards
- Contracts and other legal papers
- A videotape inventory of your household items
- Valuable heirlooms
A safe deposit box is a cheap way to keep your important documents secure at all times. Don't use time or money as an excuse for not taking the extra step to protect yourself and your family.
Following this list to help you fill your safe deposit box is great, but it's important to make sure you actually have all these pieces to add into the drawer. Take our 5-minute Coverage Checkup to make sure you and your family are covered during unexpected life events.
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