If you are like many California residents, you have a safety deposit box to store items you want to keep safe. While that is all well and good for some of your assets, a safety deposit box is not a catch-all for everything of value that you own — or your most vital documents.
Read on to learn which assets and documents are best stored elsewhere, and why.
Your last will and testament
You may think that it will be safe there, but what will actually happen is that upon your death, the bank will deny access to the contents of the safety deposit box until your executor proves they have the right to access it. But if that executor is named in the will inside the locked box, it’s easy to see how this becomes a lengthy and costly process to manage.
Powers of attorney, health care proxies, living wills
When you most need these documents is when you become too incapacitated to manage your own affairs, including going to the bank and accessing your safety deposit box. Therefore, your intentions may get overlooked because the details describing what you need or want are locked away.
What are your alternatives for storage?
You can always ask the attorney who prepared your estate planning documents to keep a certified copy of the originals on file in their office. But, again, if quick access is needed in an emergency during non-business hours, this could be problematic. Keeping them in a safe place in your home that is accessible to those who will need them is a good option.