Every January, our family has a little meeting and everyone who is 10 and older is there. It’s one of the most important meetings we have all year and we have it every year.
What could be so important? you ask.
This is when we talk about the contents of our family lock box.
The lock box is just a small FIREPROOF box that we keep all of our important documents in. We want our children to know where it’s located and what’s in it. That way, if anything ever happens to my husband and I, our children will at least not have to deal with the chaos of trying to piece together our financial lives.
Our children also know that if there’s a fire, the box can stay where it is since it’s fireproof but if we need to leave for some other emergency, the box needs to come with us.
Here’s what we put in our box…
1. Copies of our wills – current wills – not 20 year old wills that no longer apply to our situation
2. Titles to all of our vehicles
3. Most current insurance policies for vehicles, home, life and health
4. Social Security cards – we don’t carry these with us unless we actually need to use them
5. Copies of all of our drivers license
6. All bank account numbers, pins and passwords (if we had debt, we’d include that account info,too)
7. Cash – the amount will vary with each family but $1000 is a good amount to aim for
8. Flash drives with all our photos on them – this is an ongoing project as we have lots of pre-digital photos
Besides our children, the other people who know about the box, it’s location and contents and the key location are the executor of our wills and the person who will become guardian to our underage children.
For some families, this will be an uncomfortable task. But it is so very important. We found out the importance of this when my father died 4 years ago. He always felt like he was taking care of his family but being in charge of ALL the financial information. Unfortunately, he died very suddenly and we spent months of chaos going through old records trying to settle his estate. It was very trying at a time when we really just wanted to grieve.
So, do your family a favor and get a lock box and put all your important information in it. You’ll never regret it.