You should keep these valuables and documents along with other items that you treasure at your bank safe.
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The brick-and-mortar safe deposit boxes might be on the verge of disappearing forever as digital records and cloud storage become the norm.
However, don’t rush and declare the safe deposit box a thing of the past. You may still need to be capable of producing certain original documents, even those with raised seals, rather than digital scans and photocopies. Some valuables cannot be digitalized.
A safe can be installed in your home as an alternative to a safe deposit container, but it is not foolproof, according to Luke Reynolds, chief of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Outreach & Program Development Section. Reynolds states that home safes are more vulnerable to theft and fire than safe deposit boxes.
However, your access to your safe deposit can be restricted, especially during an emergency. The coronavirus pandemic, for example, reduced the hours of operation at some banks branches and required appointments for access to safe deposit boxes. These moves can make it difficult to retrieve documents and other items you need when you need them.
We recommend that you use a safe deposit box as well as a home safe. You should keep important, hard-to-replace items, such as your passport and other documents, in your home safe. Other items, which you don’t use often, can be kept in the safe deposit box. These are the top 11 things you should keep in your bank’s safe deposit box, updated for 2021. These guidelines will help you decide the size safe deposit box that you want to rent. Important legal documents can take up much of the space.
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Social Security Card
An identity thief could steal your Social Security number, causing you years of headaches. You will have to file disputes, lock accounts, and check credit reports for financial fraud. We rank the Social Security Card among the most dangerous things you should keep in your wallet, in the event it is ever lost or stolen.
Keep your Social Security card safe in a safe deposit box. You can always retrieve your card in case you need it, such as for closing a property. You should immediately return the card to the bank vault. You can also use it to fill out routine paperwork.
Birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates
You can deposit vital records that are not often needed, but are difficult to replace, into your safe deposit box. This includes birth certificates, death certificates as well as marriage certificates and divorce certificates. It is also true for documents related to adoption. In particular, it is extremely difficult to replace birth certificates obtained from overseas adoptions if they are lost or destroyed.
Although certified copies of vital records can usually be issued by government agencies, it will cost you time and money as well as frustration. Also, you will need to prove that you have the right to receive copies. For example, Virginia charges $12 for a certified record, while New York charges $53 and $25 respectively. It can take several weeks for the document to reach you by mail. The time for expedited delivery via VitalChek, a third-party service, takes 7-10 business days. However, the $32.75 per certified document charge includes a service fee. Add on the cost of what your state charges as well as shipping costs. Express delivery is more expensive and takes 3-5 business days to arrive (records sent directly from government offices). VitalChek claims it works with all states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
Bond and paper stock certificates
Although electronic bookkeeping is used for bond and stock ownership transactions, there was a time when paper certificates were still available to investors. In 2001, the New York Stock Exchange removed the requirement for physical certificates. Since then, paper savings bonds are no longer available at banks. You can however use your federal tax refund to buy Series I U.S. Savings Bonds in increments of $50 directly from the U.S. Treasury. To request paper savings bonds, include IRS Form 8888 along with your tax return.
There are still a few paper certificates that are still in circulation, some of which have intricate engravings and other works of art. You should keep any paper certificates you own, or inherit them as an inheritance. This is especially important if the certificate doesn’t identify the corporation. If the stock splits or the original corporation merges with another company, the security could be worth much more than you realize. For more information, the Securities and Exchange Commission recommends that you contact the transfer agent listed on your certificate. Your broker, or the state agency responsible for incorporations, can also be helpful. Even if the certificate is not of investment value, it may still be valuable as a collectible.
When deciding what personal papers to keep in your safe deposit box, remember that sentimental value is also important. A safe deposit box can protect items such as diaries, letters from family and friends, or unpublished memoirs of long-deceased relatives. While these personal papers can and should be scanned for backup, there is no substitute for the feeling of holding something from your past. Experts recommend a safe deposit box to store irreplaceable or difficult-to-replace documents.
Most of your photos are stored in the cloud so even if your phone is lost, your most recent selfie will still be safe. What about the old photos from childhood vacations and distant relatives? You can store sentimental family photos in your safe deposit box just like you would personal papers.
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Do not stop there. Take the scans and copy them onto a thumb drive. You can also store the thumb drive in your safe deposit box. Another option is to upload the digital copies to the cloud storage solution of your choosing. Unlimited digital photo storage is one of the benefits of Amazon Prime. Apple users get 5 gigabytes free iCloud storage, and the option to buy additional.