If you have a safe deposit box at the bank, you may feel you don’t need a home safe. But what if you need access to jewelry, gold or a document such as your birth certificate when the bank is closed?
I would not recommend storing vital documents such as your will, birth certificate, etc. in the Memory Box. Those items should either be stored in a Safe deposit box for sale at the bank, or at home in a fire resistant box (remember, there is no such thing as a fireproof box for the home!). Some people store their vital documents in a regular file folder in their filing cabinet, and keep copies (or the originals) in a separate location. In the event that an emergency causes a very quick evacuation, the people and pets go out first, followed by the vital documents, and then the Memory Boxes.
Most safes are fire-resistant, but not fireproof. The Underwriters Laboratory grades fire-resistant safes based on how long the safes protect paper at a certain temperature and for how long. Class-C safes protect paper for an hour at 1,700-degrees Fahrenheit, class-B for two hours at 1,850-degrees, and class-A for four hours at 2,000-degrees. If you need to protect computer disks in a fire, you will need to purchase a specialized home safe.
If the decedent’s house is not empty, it no longer qualifies for a homeowner policy. Call the insurance agent and have the policy changed to a Dwelling Fire policy. This is crucial, since the insurance company could deny coverage on a vacant home under a homeowner policy. Also place the policy in the name of the estate.
This is also the time of year when we start shopping for gifts and the last thing you need is for your bank or credit card accounts to be stolen by “cyber grifters”. They are counting on some of us to follow the instructions in the email.
CDs or an external hard drive containing digital copies of all family photos. It’s a good idea to scan all older family photos and keep a digital copy of them as well. Your family memories in photographs are irreplaceable.
Get a credit report every year. It is a good idea to keep tabs on your credit profile. Compare the accounts that are on the credit history to the cards that are in your wallet. If there is something on your credit report that you do not recognize, contact the company immediately. While it is possible to have a card that you forgot about, you want to ensure that someone didn’t open a credit card in your name.