This is a question that has come up time and time again. We have all those important documents sitting around the house collecting dust. You know the sorts of documents—birth certificates? Home deeds? Marriage certificates? Bank statements? Wills and Trusts? I think we can say without question that sticking these documents in a bottom drawer or keeping them strewn across a little-used office is not the best place for them. The real question, for me (and may of you, it seems) is whether it is better to keep these in an easily-accessible home fire-proof safe or in a bank’s safety deposit box. Let’s run down some pros and cons of each situation and then you can make up your mind for yourself.
Home, Fire-Proof Safe
1) Easy to access day or night
2) One time expense and can be as expensive or not as you like
3) More vulnerable to theft and environmental disaster damage
4) Fire-proof and water-resistant still means that fire and water can damage the contents (especially if they are sensitive such as paper or media0
5) Liability of loss rests only with you and your own insurance policy
Safety Deposit Box
1) Very VERY safe with little to no chance of damage or theft
2) Can only access during bank hours (which means that Sunday that you wake up and NEED a birth certificate will have to wait until Monday)
3) What happens if you lose your key?
4) Must pay an annual fee to the bank
5) In case of death, a safety deposit box cannot be opened until the estate has closed.
What do you think is the best safe for your document security? For me, it seems like having both and sticking things that are very important but don’t require frequent access in a safety deposit box while keeping things that I need more often at home seems like the best bet. But that’s just me!