Friday, April 15, 2011

Protecting Safe Deposit Boxes from Seizure

ABC News reports that some states, including California, are seizing the contents of safe deposit boxes without giving the owners proper notice. Some of these states are also seizing "unclaimed" property. This is being done by these states in a effort to balance their budgets.

Here are some tips to protect your property from improper seizure:
• Make contact with your bank, your brokerage firm, etc. at least once a year, in a way that creates a paper trail. Make sure they have your current address.

• If you own stock, occasionally vote your proxies or take other steps to keep your stock ownership active. Stay in touch with your broker.

• Write a list of all your accounts and keep it with your will, so your heirs will know where to look.

• Consider insuring valuables even if you keep them in your safe-deposit box. That way, you're covered financially if the bank or state makes a mistake and empties your box. Plus, safe-deposit contents have been known to be destroyed by fire or flooding.

You can also search for unclaimed property in your name for free, using the website given here.