While safe deposit boxes are great when you need to store personal items securely, they aren’t always ideally suited for estate planning purposes. While you can use a safe deposit box as part of your overall estate plan, you will want to keep these tips in mind to ensure it doesn’t cause problems when it comes time to distribute your estate.
Tip 1. Keep your personal representative informed.
Safety deposit boxes offer a very secure way to store valuable possessions and also a way to keep your affairs private. However, once it comes time to manage your estate, your estate administrator will need to know that you have a safety deposit box. If not, the assets you’ve placed in the box may go undiscovered.
Tip 2. Make sure someone else has access when needed.
If you have an individual safe deposit box you essentially lease that space from the bank. When you die, the contents of the safe deposit box will be part of your estate, but someone else will need to access the box in order to determine what is there. If you and your spouse signed up as joint tenants for the safe deposit box, your spouse will be able to access it. However, if your spouse is already deceased or you rented the box as an individual, you will want to speak to your estate planning attorney to determine the best method of ensuring that someone else will be able to access it.
You can learn a lot more about a number of estate planning issues at one of our free seminars this October. We’ll be talking about living trusts on October 23, and 24th, in Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie, Florida. Seating is limited so contact our office for more information.