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View Poll Results: Do you have a Bank Safe Deposit Box?
Yes. It is very important to me/us. 87 34.52%
Yes. Not sure why. 25 9.92%
No. I/we am thinking about getting one. 15 5.95%
No. I/we keep the valuables and important documents in other places. 125 49.60%
Voters: 252. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-14-2020, 12:19 AM   #61
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The banks being closed during Covid and not being able to access the Safe Deposit Box is rather unfortunate.
Our bank branch closed for a few months due to COVID, so I was unable to access our safe deposit box during that time. We weren't traveling anywhere so we didn't need our passports, but I did take a small risk not updating my backup hard drive there for a few months.

In all fairness, I could have made an appointment to gain access to our safe deposit box if I really needed to, but it wasn't a big priority to me.

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I do have concerns about being able to access a Bank Safety Deposit Box upon the death of the owner.
When my mom had a stroke, she assigned me as her Power of Attorney. With paperwork in hand I had no issues accessing (and closing) her safe deposit box. She didn't have anything stored in there anyway, it had been empty for years.

If you think you may need access in the future, I would try to arrange a POA while that person is still alive.

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As more and more B&M banks are eliminating the SDB's I wonder how much longer they will not be available at all.
Depending on what you are storing, they aren't always necessary. In my case, it's just a place to store a backup hard drive. I encrypt any sensitive data on the drive, so it doesn't matter if someone else gets access to the drive. I could just as easily store the drive with a friend or family member, any other location would do, as long as I could get to the drive when I need it.
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:55 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Sunset View Post
I was co-signer on the box (or POA), either way I was able to access the box before her death.
When my Mother died, I went to the bank, opened the box, emptied it, and put it back.
Next week I notified them she died.
No way I was going to be locked out of the box, which contained her Will , etc.
When DF was doing poorly I got doc originals out of DF’s box and took the will to his attorney to keep. I guess I was lucky that I had notice. I’d had signing authority for years and had already pulled out originals for POA’s and living will/health instructions when DF went into care home.
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Old 12-15-2020, 09:10 AM   #63
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We had a fireproof safe on our acreage but when we moved to our condo, we went with a locked strongbox that is hidden in the condo. We have master set of keys and its key is with the other keys. I only do backups once a month, so it gets infrequent use. I do more frequent backups in the cloud. I have had to do cloud restores a couple of times related to software glitches.
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Old 12-15-2020, 09:40 AM   #64
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Ok, you’ve given us a lot to think about. We are considering closing the box. The papers can be stored in our Fire box at the house. Right now it has our birth certificates, passports and SS cards in there. We’ll move our savings bonds, deed to the house and wills there as well

As for the jewelry I think we’ve come up with a place in the home to keep it. No place is foolproof but it’s the best we can come up with. We don’t want a large safe which would be hard to impossible to conceal.

Suggestions are always welcome!
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Old 12-15-2020, 10:04 AM   #65
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The safe deposit box discussion comes up often here. I'll chime-in.


Having $5K on deposit made it free many years ago, but now they have more onerous requirements with Merrill Lynch, and I'm not willing to go there. I pay $60/yr. I tried to get DW to kick BofA to the curb (a credit union has the same box for $20), but she doesn't like change.


I poured a slab in my basement and routinely kick myself for not putting in a safe. Not safe from floods, but probably safe from fire.
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But its empty
Old 12-15-2020, 10:21 AM   #66
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But its empty

I have one at Chase which I got for free when I deposited x amount in their bank. I used it for a short while to store some cash, until I emptied it. Not sure now what to keep in there.
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Old 12-15-2020, 10:27 AM   #67
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We use ours for the originals of important documents, such as citizenship papers, birth certificates, marriage certificate, wills, warranty deed for the house, certificates of title for the cars, social security cards and my Form DD-214.
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Old 12-18-2020, 04:35 PM   #68
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Gave up the bank safe deposit box several years ago when the price went UP again. I now have a small Sentry safe that is UL fire-rated.

The manual combination safe, a Sentry SFW123CS2 (manual combination because some of the electronic ones can be opend with a large magnet and it leaves no marks) is five times the size of the bank box we had. It was about $100 at the time and the current similar 1.23 cu ft models are $120 to $150 depending on the seller (Walmart, Home Depot, Office Depot, etc).

It's one of the few products that the maker will replaced if it's damaged in doing it's job. If yours goes through a fire, send a picture and the fire report and they will replace it for free.
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Safe Dep Bx
Old 12-18-2020, 04:57 PM   #69
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Safe Dep Bx

I keep one at the bank for originals of critical docs and password and account lists, rare coins and about a years worth of cash.

As far as I know, only a floor safe buried below the foundation that is insulated along with a fire block cover can protect docs and media from the temperatures associated with a major fire.

Data back ups are another issue. Good ideas from all here.
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Old 12-18-2020, 04:59 PM   #70
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I have a fireproof box that I store in a larger fireproof safe that weighs about 900lbs plus contents bolted down in the basement against a wall that is completely underground. Might not survive a California style fire but we don't live in an area that catches fire all the time. I do daily backups and monthly backups of our computers. I have two sets of drives that I alternate for monthlies, the most recent is in the firebox with important paper and a few other things. The month old backups are just in the safe with other things that can be replaced with money. I don't bother locking the firebox because anything that can be carried away does not have to be locked for security.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:11 PM   #71
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I had a box at the bank for many years but finally dropped it a few years ago. It kept originals of "important" papers and photos of my property for insurance purposes, safe from fire.

It was always a hassle to make two trips to the bank to retrieve an item and return it, especially during my working years when my time off rarely overlapped bankers hours. I usually had to access it at least once a year, sometimes several times. Often those important originals sat at home for weeks or months until I got around to taking them back to the bank. So much for fire protection.

As technology advanced, I started keeping digital copies of those "important" papers encrypted in the cloud. Likewise for photos of property. I converted all my paper savings bonds to digital at Treasury Direct. Every important original paper I kept in the box, such as passports and car titles, could be replaced relatively easily if they were lost. When the bank started making big annual increases in the rental rate, I cancelled.

Now I keep those important original papers in a fire safe at home. It's much more convenient. I already had the fire safe since there were some things I wanted to protect from fire that wouldn't fit in the bank box or I wanted to access frequently, and I didn't want to rent a bigger box at the bank.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:12 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Global Wizzo View Post

As far as I know, only a floor safe buried below the foundation that is insulated along with a fire block cover can protect docs and media from the temperatures associated with a major fire.
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Originally Posted by sengsational View Post

I poured a slab in my basement and routinely kick myself for not putting in a safe. Not safe from floods, but probably safe from fire.
Me too. Partly, I didn't realize that most of the fire proof boxes are only good to a certain temp, and the other is how our fire dept works. Because I live in a mountain village, where fire can easily spread due to the hills and also high winds we sometimes get, the fire dept has these priorities:

  1. Save lives
  2. Contain the fire to the one structure
  3. Try to save the structure on fire
Quite often they can only do 1 & 2. There's probably another priority of keeping their fire fighters safe, and that comes between 2 & 3. If a fire has consumed much of the house such that it'll be a total loss, they aren't going to send people in to try to keep my fire proof box intact if there's any risk to them, which there always is if they go into a burning building. Pretty much all of the other contents are burned, smoked out, or water damaged by this point.


I'm not quoting their policy, but this is basically right. It didn't really sink into me until this thread, that any fire that starts inside my house, or an out of control fire that consumes the whole mountain, is probably going to ruin my contents. However, if I have to evacuate, my cat, my wallet, my laptop and cell phone, and that box are the first things I'll grab if I have any time at all.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:51 PM   #73
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We have a safe deposit box and keep some items in a fireproof safe at home. BUT, we found out the hard way that fireproof safes are NOT waterproof.
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Old 12-18-2020, 05:56 PM   #74
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We have safes at home and our son knows how to access them when we pass.
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Old 12-18-2020, 06:42 PM   #75
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We have a safe deposit box and keep some items in a fireproof safe at home. BUT, we found out the hard way that fireproof safes are NOT waterproof.
Hmm,that would be a problem with burying a safe below the foundation. You'd have to keep it from pouring in directly from any seam, and also provide drainage from the hole.
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Old 12-18-2020, 06:59 PM   #76
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We don't have a safety deposit box. We had one, but our bank was flooded (as was our home). When we needed emergency money, We were barred from getting it for 18 months. As was our bank account. The bank did pay to clean our title/deed/documents etc to the house, however.


We have two refrigerator sized safes. It holds everything that we might have needed in a SD box.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:03 PM   #77
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Ok, you’ve given us a lot to think about. We are considering closing the box. The papers can be stored in our Fire box at the house. Right now it has our birth certificates, passports and SS cards in there. We’ll move our savings bonds, deed to the house and wills there as well

As for the jewelry I think we’ve come up with a place in the home to keep it. No place is foolproof but it’s the best we can come up with. We don’t want a large safe which would be hard to impossible to conceal.

Suggestions are always welcome!
Auto titles, instance policies,valuable coins?
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:11 PM   #78
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We don't have a safety deposit box. We had one, but our bank was flooded (as was our home).
As I mentioned earlier, I primarily use a safe deposit box for computer backups. One benefit is the bank has different risks than my home does.

My home is on a mountain so floods are not really a threat, but we are vulnerable to forest fires here.

The bank is in town where forest fires aren't really an issue, but they are potentially vulnerable to a flood.

By having a backup at each location I'm fairly well protected against most natural disasters (flood, fire, tornado, etc.). It would take something like a nuke or a serious seismic event to take out both locations. If that happens, I would probably have bigger problems than my computer backup.
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Old 12-18-2020, 11:25 PM   #79
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Our home has a sump pump, which goes on when it rains a bunch. This means the water rises to within 6 inches of our basement floor surface (where we walk).

This means I cannot cut the basement floor and put in a safe under the basement as it would be flooded every rain.

I am liking the idea of encrypting a backup of everything (pictures of paper records) and computer files which I do already. Then store it in the cloud (which is really a server).
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Old 12-19-2020, 06:33 AM   #80
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How safe is "the cloud"?





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Our home has a sump pump, which goes on when it rains a bunch. This means the water rises to within 6 inches of our basement floor surface (where we walk).

This means I cannot cut the basement floor and put in a safe under the basement as it would be flooded every rain.

I am liking the idea of encrypting a backup of everything (pictures of paper records) and computer files which I do already. Then store it in the cloud (which is really a server).
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