NEWS & Highlights

Safe Deposit Box - What to put in, what to leave out.

Renting a bank safe deposit box can help secure important personal documents, collectibles and family heirlooms. But it's important to make wise decisions about what goes in the box and to stipulate who has access to it.

If you've rented a box or are considering it, experts recommend weighing the following questions:

What should I put in my bank safe deposit box?
Items experts recommend storing in a safety deposit box include birth or marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, rare coins, jewelry, irreplaceable family photos, stock or bond certificates, and foreign currency.
A good rule of thumb when deciding what to put into a safe deposit box is if the following statement applies to the item: "If these documents were lost, I am in big trouble."

What should I leave out of my bank safe deposit box?
You probably shouldn't put your will in a bank safe deposit box.  A court order usually is needed to retrieve it once the safe deposit box holder dies.
It isn't a good idea in most cases to store cash in a safe deposit box. Cash kept in a safe deposit box is not insured by the federal government under Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., or FDIC rules.

Who should get access to my bank safe deposit box?
Who can access the box? It depends on the names on the signature card for the box rental at the bank.
If you rent the box only in your name, you, a power-of-attorney or agent you designate are the only ones who can get into the locked box.  A safe deposit box rented jointly with a spouse, child or friend means those people also have access.
Experts say it's wise to have a designated power of attorney to handle your financial affairs -- including access to your box -- in case you are unable to because you are disabled or traveling, among other reasons.

Who can access my bank safe deposit box when I die?
Anyone who is a co-renter of the box has immediate access to it upon your death.
But what if you are the sole renter of the box? People often are confused about who can gain entry to the box. Many wrongly believe a power of attorney has access to the box after you die.
However, a power of attorney loses authority to act on your behalf upon your death.
An executor or executrix that you designated to handle your estate after you die would get access to your safe-deposit box, but how quickly depends on the state you live in and the bank.
It's possible to speed that process in certain states by having a "temporary executor clause" in a will. In such instances, the executor can obtain a court order quickly after your death to access the box while your estate is going through probate.
If you legally appoint a trustee to oversee assets placed in trust before you die, that individual also would have access to the safe deposit box upon your death.

If you are interested in a safe deposit box, come into ASB and talk with one of our new account reps.

For more information, please contact us.