Birth certificates. Savings bonds. Heirloom jewelry. Everyone has something they want to hold on to and keep safe. And when it’s that important, you’ll want to protect it in a safe-deposit box. While you may have heard people call it a safety-deposit box, the correct name is safe-deposit box. It’s a secure container usually located inside a larger safe or bank vault, used to store valuable documents and other important possessions. Anything you want to protect from fire, flood and theft.
What to Put In, What to Leave Out
Experts recommend storing birth or marriage certificates, insurance policies, property deeds, rare coins, jewelry, irreplaceable family photos, stock or bond certificates, and foreign currency. Whatever you store in your safe-deposit box is completely private. Even the bank isn’t allowed to know its contents due to liability issues.
One thing you shouldn’t put in a safe-deposit box is cash. Cash kept in a safe-deposit box is not insured by the federal government under FDIC rules. You may not want to store your will or other documents that may need to be retrieved in emergency, unless your box is jointly rented by you and a family member.
Who Should Have Access?
If you rent a box in your name only, you and your designated power of attorney or agent will be the only people who can access your box. For this reason, experts recommend designating a power of attorney in case you are unable to access your safe-deposit box for any reason. If your box is co-rented with a spouse, child, or friend, they will have access to your box. And, upon your death, the executor or executrix of your estate would get access to your safe-deposit box. (How quickly depends on the state you live in and the bank.)
Where to Rent a Safe-Deposit Box
You can usually rent a box from your local bank or post office. The box can only be opened with an assigned key, your signature and maybe a security code, so you can be sure its contents are secure. If you’re interested in renting one of our safe-deposit boxes, visit any Webster banking center or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.