By Matt Starkey

If you have a safe deposit box at your bank, be aware that it may not be the best place to store everything.

DO – store items you can’t afford to lose or that would be extremely difficult to replace. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, a list of your insurance policies (usually, if you have the company name, insured and policy number, these can easily be replaced), trust and IRA documents, property deeds, rare coins, jewelry, stock or bond certificates, foreign currencies, treasured family photos, and other heirlooms.

DON’T – keep your will and related estate-planning documents. Depending on state law, a court order may be required to unseal the box should you pass away. It’s better to keep your will in a fire-proof safe accessible to other family members. You might also consider keeping a password protected electronic copy of any documents you hold in the box itself OUTSIDE of the box for ease in reference and access.

DON’T – use a safe deposit box to store documents such as a power of attorney that might be needed suddenly in case of an emergency.

DON’T – keep cash in a safe deposit box.  Cash isn’t insured under Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) rules, which normally insure deposits in your accounts up to $250,000. Generally, to access the box the bank has to be open. If it is open, then you can get cash from the teller.  But if you need that cash in an emergency situation, it might be kept where you can get your hands on it, 24/7. Perhaps, a good fireproof safe in your home that is secure or concealed might work best.

If you have questions about safely storing your financial documents, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Matt Starkey –, or call (913) 345-1881.

Photo credit: Todd Ehlers / Foter / CC BY-ND