If you are worried about the security of your valuables, you might be in the market for a safety deposit box. This can be a strong box or safe that you keep somewhere in your home or it can be a box that you rent at your bank. The bank’s box is less likely to be subject to burglary, fire, or water damage. But it is less easy to access, though only slightly. Some insurance companies will lower their premiums for items stored at the bank.
Items that should be stored in a safe deposit box:
Original documents including insurance policies; birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates; deeds, titles, mortgages, leases; contracts; stocks; bonds; certificates of deposit; valuable, durable objects like jewelry, medals, rare stamps, coins, and other collectibles; photos of your home and its contents for insurance purposes; and anything else that is irreplaceable to you.
Items that should not be stored in a safe deposit box:
Anything that you might need at the last minute: Original documents including powers of attorney, living wills, medical directives, passports, funeral and burial wishes, and your will. You can put a copy of your will in a safe deposit box but keep the original elsewhere, because some states require a court order to open the safe deposit box of a deceased person, and that can take time. The originals are better off at your home and with your lawyer.