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Consumer Tips from Your Community Banker
(June 2014)

Safe Deposit Boxes Keep Your Records Organized, Valuables Secure

Want to get organized and ensure that your financial life runs smoothly? One of the easiest and most cost-effective steps you can take is to rent a safe deposit box at your Wisconsin community bank.

Storing your vital records in a safe deposit box can help when:

You need a birth certificate or Social Security card to apply for a passport or job.
You need a passport to begin your overseas adventure.
A tornado blows through your area and you need a copy of your insurance policy and household inventory, (perhaps accompanied by photos or a video).
The attorney helping to settle an estate has asked to see property deeds.
You need adoption records for any reason.
You need vehicle loan, leasing, or ownership records in order to sell a used car.

The list goes on. If you misplace your in-home list of credit card numbers, online passwords, or 2012 tax return, having a copy in a safe deposit box can save you hours of searching-not to mention megawatts of frustration. Other documents often stored in safe deposit boxes include wills, citizenship papers, military records, and marriage, and death certificates.

Even if you have copies of these documents at home, keeping the originals in a safe deposit box can save you time. While you can request a copy of your Social Security card from the Social Security Administration or a copy of your birth certificate from the city hall or courthouse of the county where you were born, keeping these documents at your community bank can save you the effort of tracking down and requesting duplicates.

Many people also store small valuables in their safe deposit boxes, everything from seldom worn jewelry to gems, stamps, baseball cards, comics, or old coins. If you have small heirlooms that you would like to hand down to your children but not necessarily display in your home (old letters, an ancestor's diary, military medals, or tintypes and photo negatives), you may want to keep them in your safe deposit box as well. While you can keep copies of many of these items at home, storing the originals in a safe place gives you peace of mind.

When you rent a safe deposit box, you will receive two keys to it. Remember to keep them in two separate places, including one site that is outside of your home. Avoid placing a safe deposit box key on your key ring, which might be lost or stolen. Also remember to pay the rental fee annually. After five years of nonpayment, banks transfer the contents of abandoned boxes to the Wisconsin State Treasurer's Office.

Curious about what other people keep in their safe deposit boxes? The Treasurer's Office sells unclaimed property from abandoned boxes on eBay. Learn more at: http://wistatetreasury.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/things-found-in-safe-deposit-boxes/.

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