Content Updated October 3, 2007
There are some things that should not only be filed but protected from fire, flood, and theft. Often the best protection is a safe deposit box at a local bank.
If you don’t have access to one or simply don’t like the idea of having to go to the bank to get access to your items, purchase a fireproof safe that can be bolted, from the inside, to the studs in your wall or floor to keep the documents safely in your home.
Make sure you make a list of the contents of your safe deposit box / fireproof safe and keep it in your filing cabinet or household organizer, so you’ll know what’s in your box without having to actually look in it. Make sure you update the list every time you add something to the box or take something out. Verify the contents list at least yearly.
Items to that Need to Go in Your Safe Deposit Box
- Birth certificates
- Death certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Divorce certificates
- Military discharge papers
- Immunization records
- Passports (since they cost so much to replace)
- Financial inventory
- Home inventory
- Titles to property
- Stock certificates
- Certificates of deposit
- Pension plan records
- Copy of your will and trust (You can put your original will in your fireproof safe if the key or code is available for your survivors to get into the box. However, never put your original will or trust in a safe deposit box. Upon your death, your safety deposit box may be sealed, making it impossible for the original, legal will or trust to be read an executed without a struggle. Instead, have your lawyer keep the original, put it in a fireproof safe, or find some other protective means to store your will that will not make the administration of the will or trust difficult.)
- Letter of last instruction
- Legal documents / contracts / etc.