What documents do you need to keep in a safe?It’s a good idea to keep your important documents in a safe place. This is most especially those that contain important information about you, your family, and your assets. This way, if something happens to you, your loved ones will have easy access to them and could easily take care of your affairs.
Getting a Safe
A home safe is a good place to keep important documents. It is secured where your documents will be protected from damage or theft and it could help preserve them in cases of disaster if you will choose your safety deposit box right.
Of course, you need to choose the safe that is of the perfect size for the documents you will put in it. It should also have the right type and features of a safe. Lastly, think about where you will be keeping the safe and how you will be accessing it.
Documents may not have the upfront appeal as precious stones and metals. But since they can corroborate your identity, estate ownership, and other assets – basically your whole life – it just makes sense to have a conscious effort to keep them secured but still handy, especially for emergency purposes.
Below are some of the most important documents you should keep in a safe:
1. Birth Certificates.
Your birth certificate proves that you are who you say you are and it can be used to prove your identity in many situations. It is one of the legal documents that can evidence your nationality. It is the basic requirement in acquiring all other identification cards such as your driver’s license and passport, assuming that all information is correct and there are no discrepancies. Without a birth certificate, it won’t be easy to get admitted to schools and apply for any type of government perks.
You and your family members’ birth certificates should be among the priority documents to secure in a safe.
2. Social Security Card.
Your social security card contains your social security number which is used to track your income and benefits. This information should be confidential and just your own. Otherwise, criminals could easily access your personal information and use it for their own gain.
As a safety precaution, this shouldn’t leave your safe unless it is required as you look for a job or for other similar purposes.
Your passport is issued by the national government in your country which proves your identity and citizenship. It is literally your license to safely pass through different international borders when you travel overseas. It even helps record your trips for future reference.
Without a passport, you cannot exit your home country. Much more, cross another one. Thus, you need to secure a temporary passport before you can go home when you happen to lose this document during one of your travels.
The importance of a passport makes it mandatory to secure it in your safe at all times. Your inability to do this would save you the hassle the next time you decide to travel overseas.
Your will outlines your final wishes, including how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. If something happens to you, your loved ones will need your will to settle your estate. This would ensure that your hard work is not for naught and that the burden of reallocating your assets would not fall onto the shoulders of your next of kin.
Individuals normally hire an executor to safekeep their will. However, some also prefer keeping a copy for themselves. While you’d want yours to be accessible in cases of unfortunate incidents, you’d also want to place it in a secured place away from meddling members. A safe would be the best choice in this case.
5. Insurance Documents.
Insurance policy financially protects you and your loved ones in the event of accidents and potential disasters such as fire, floods, and earthquakes. This guarantees your recovery from financial losses and your ability to move forward when calamitous situations strike. Further, it provides a means to pay for unplanned expenses required during emergencies.
When your insurance documents are secured in a fireproof safe or a damage-proof one, together with the appropriate proof of identification, you will not be at risk of facing issues when you file a claim.
6. Bank Statements.
Bank statements are official documents provided by your bank which reflect the movement of your funds. It shows how much money you have in your accounts and information about your investments, if you have any. It also evidences your identity in case you need to deal with bank-related issues or you need some emergency cash.
Nowadays, it is easy not to remember to secure copies of your bank statements because the digital age makes them easily acquirable online. While this is true, it still pays to keep a copy in your safe, especially for the benefit of your family during your absence.
Note that your loved ones will need your bank statements to settle your estate or to get government benefits in your name if something happens to you. Having this information hidden away by a username and a password wouldn’t do them good and would make the process more difficult.
7. Marriage Certificates or Divorce Papers.
A marriage certificate is a document that proves that you are married. It contains your names, the date of your wedding, the place, and the names of your witnesses and attendees.
It is important to keep a copy of this document in a safe, especially for married couples because this is required for all couple-related legal arrangements such as shared insurance, mortgage application, changing your name, and the like. This document is also important when filing claims for the life insurance of your partner during accidental misfortune.
Likewise, if your marriage with your partner has already come to an end, divorce papers should be added to your collection of documents in a safe. You should keep a record of the settlement agreed upon during the separation and the tiniest detail about child and spousal support, visitation rights, division of marital properties, and other similar information.
8. Property Deeds.
A property deed is a document that proves you own a piece of property. This is not just limited to real estate but should also include the title of your vehicles, etc.
When not properly kept in a safe, there are instances when deeds are misplaced or stolen. This could lead to a smorgasbord of trouble including hampered transactions related to the properties in the future. If no serious action is done after the original deed or title is lost, it could also weaken your claim to the property, if not absolutely invalidate it.
9. Medical-related Documents.
You and your family’s medical documents should also have a room in your safe. These should not be limited to just the copy of the medical insurance but should include information about your family’s medical history and chronic illnesses, if applicable. It’s a bonus if you can include the details of the physician you frequent and his contact number.
The information reflected on the medical-related documents in your safe will help health practitioners get the appropriate medical care to you during emergency situations. This can be their ticket to saving your life.
10. Tax Return.
You may not realize it but your tax returns are another important document to keep in a safe. They show how much money you made in a year and can be used to prove your income. It is also a relevant document during an audit.
Since this document is being updated annually, you may want to make sure that the copy you have in your safe is up-to-date too.
Ultimately, when it comes to important documents, you can never be too careful. That’s why it’s so important to have a good-quality safe for them.
Allen is a product journalist specializing in home security products, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech. Allen holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.