Safe Deposit Boxes as Part of an Estate Plan
A safe deposit box is a good place to store important estate-related documents like wills, power of attorney or even small valuables, but how can you ensure that it is accessible to the right person in case you pass away or become incapacitated?
Fortunately, you can take steps now to make the process of using and accessing a safe deposit box easier for your loved ones:
- Decide whether to keep safe deposit box at home or at a bank. Keeping a box at a bank clearly adds an additional level of security, but makes it more difficult to access because it can only be opened during normal business hours and is subject to certain legal requirements for opening. You could keep a safe deposit box at home, but it would be less secure.
- Consider titling the deposit box to your trust. Taking this step will ensure your trustee may access the contents of your safe deposit box in the event of your disability or death and that distribution takes place according to the terms of your trust. Doing so will also prevent untimely delays in accessing the contents.
- Without a trust, assign joint access. If you don’t have a trust or don’t want the contents of your box distributed as part of trust, you may provide someone with joint access or a special power of attorney so that he or she has the authority to access it. It’s important to work with the bank to ensure you meet its standards for providing this type of access. In most cases, a spouse may also access the box upon presentation of a death certificate — although sometimes a marriage certificate is also required.
Get in touch with a trusted Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices to learn more about best protecting your assets and beneficiaries as you move forward.