Should You Use a Safe Deposit Box?

We recommend that our clients have a safe depos­it box at a local bank. Safe deposit boxes provide a secure container for your important items; rarely worn jewelry, documents, etc… These important items will not be stolen, burned, lost or otherwise misplaced. And, if your items are not lost in the first place, you will not needlessly spend time and money and incur great aggravation trying to get them replaced. Can you imagine trying to replace a birth certificate or marriage license at the last minute? We wish that on no one.

If you choose not to take our advice and get a safe deposit box, at least purchase and keep a fire safe in your home. Ideally you should purchase a fire safe for your home to keep frequently worn jewelry and documents in addition to having a safe deposit box. It is easier to get a passport from your fire safe for that last minute travel opportunity than to coordinate a trip to your safe deposit box during banking hours.

This is a short list of items for your safe places. It is by no means exhaustive.

In a safe deposit box (or, as a second choice, a fire-retardant safe):

• Deeds and titles

• Marriage licenses and divorce decrees

• Birth/Death certificates

• Home inventory

• Social Security cards

• Stock certificates

• Rarely worn jewelry

• List of bank accounts, brokerage accounts, certificates of deposit, and credit cards (with account numbers and branch locations).

In a fire-retardant safe:

• Insurance policies

• Passports

• Tax returns (past seven years)

• Wills and Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Medical Directives

• Funeral and burial instructions

• Frequently worn jewelry

• List of bank accounts, brokerage accounts, certificates of deposit, and credit cards (with account numbers and branch locations).

About the author

Daniel Joss MBA, CFP®, RLP®
Daniel Joss MBA, CFP®, RLP®

Daniel D. Joss MBA, CFP®, RLP® is a seasoned Financial Life Planning professional with over 16 years of advising clients. Dan earned a Master of Business Administration, with an emphasis in financial planning from Regent University in 1999. He has been selected more than once as Top Financial Advisor in Northern Virginia Magazine. Dan speaks regularly in various peer forums and professional organizations. He has also been quoted in various national and local print and online publications.

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