What to keep in a safe deposit box and what not to keep
My first post went to never never land. I would include Medicare Cards along with Social Security Cards. Link at bottom.
"There are some documents you may not want to keep in a safe deposit box in case you or your heirs need to access them quickly. Don't keep these documents in a safe deposit box:
- Drivers' licenses.
- Social Security cards.
- The original copy of your will.
- Health care directives, such as a living will.
First, you don't want to store documents that you may need unexpectedly, such as your passport or Social Security card. The risk is that, at the moment you need one of these documents, the bank won't be open, and you'll have to wait until the next morning or the start of the next week to get access.
When it comes to estate-planning documents, such as your will, the decision to keep them in a safe deposit box is a bit more complex. "We do not recommend to clients to keep wills in safe deposit boxes," wrote Gerry Joyce, managing director and national head of trusts and estates at Fiduciary Trust Company International in New York City, in an email. Doing so may cause a "chicken and egg" scenario in which the safe deposit box can only be opened by the executor, but the executor can't be appointed by a probate court without the original will, Joyce says. "We often prefer to see the client leave the original will with their attorney or in a fire-proof safe at home," Joyce says.
State law determines how banks provide safe deposit box access to heirs or executors, says Jennifer Guimond-Quigley, an attorney in Chicago. "As long as the process is followed, the bank is supposed to remove the will and file it with the court," she says. It's worth it to check with your bank or estate-planning attorney to verify that your heirs will be able to find and access your will if it's in a safe deposit box. She agrees that keeping a will in a sturdy safe at home, or even at your attorney's office, may make accessing it more simple for your heirs.
The same logic applies to documents your family may need if you fall seriously ill. Living wills and medical powers of attorney should be stored in a secure place to which your family has ready access."