Lots of people like to keep cash and valuables hidden at home. But what if you do too good a job of hiding them that even your executor can’t find them? They could end up lost or thrown away. Let’s discuss how to avoid that.
Why people hide cash and valuables at home
Some folks don’t trust banks or the government, in general. Perhaps they came from a country or grew up in another era where banking was much less reliable.
Others want to hide valuables from home aides, cleaning staff, EMTs, etc. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for items to go missing when someone gets transferred to a nursing home or when they pass away.
Lastly, some folks want to be prepared for a recession or bank runs/panics. Panic bank/ATM runs could have easily been the scenario two years ago when we witnessed the toilet paper shortage.
Where NOT to hide cash and valuables at home
If you hide valuables too well, the executor/heirs probably won’t find it either. From personal experience, treasure hunting for hidden money and jewelry is just one thing on a long list of the executor’s tasks to do when cleaning out a home. The executor needs to document items for family members, and the home needs to be cleared out and in broom-clean condition to get it on the market in a reasonable time frame. There’s really not much time to tear up the floorboards to look for hidden cash…
Here are some examples of where people hide things and why the executor/heirs might miss it:
- In the freezer, wrapped in foil or Ziploc bag. It’s not really reasonable for someone to go through every item in the fridge/freezer to see if there’s money in it. By the time we’re cleaning out the fridge, everything is probably rotting. We do our best to check, but often, there just isn’t much time before we need to move on to the next task.
- In the pantry, inside flour jars, sugar jars, cereal boxes. Again, there isn’t time to look through all of these things for hidden valuables. Sometimes we hire a cleaning company, and they certainly are not going to take the time to examine each item.
- Inside books or hollowed out books. It’s not realistic for an executor to take every book off of the shelf and leaf through the pages. We do tend to check the dictionaries and Bibles, which are more common “hiding places.”
- Taped on the underside of the drawer. Some public administrators will take out every drawer, examine it, then toss it on the floor. After doing so, it tends to look like someone robbed the place. We do our best to look around, but we also respect the emotional reaction of the heirs. We do not trash the place.
- Inside a cigar box. We do check these, but if the box is tucked away, we might miss it.
- Sewn into the lining of clothes. We might do a pat-down of some items, but generally, clothing is overlooked. Although one time, we found cash in a sofa cushion because we noticed a lump.
- Under floorboards. If there is an obvious discolored board, we’ll take a look. However, we’re not wrecking a house to find possible valuables. It’s time consuming and costly to pull up floorboards and get them neatly back into place. By the way, if the floorboard hiding place is so obvious that we can find it, chances are the home aid or EMT can find it, too.
Good places to hide cash and valuables at home
A fireproof safe costs money and it can draw attention, but it also means that your executor knows to look in there. Try not to worry about the home aid seeing your safe. Most crimes are crimes of opportunity. You are more likely to have cash or jewelry swiped off of your dresser than for a visitor to spend time trying to get into the safe.
There is no need to buy a huge safe that is incredibly obvious. You also don’t want to get a tiny safe that is easy to carry away. A standard safe might weigh 50 to 100 pounds and can be bolted into the floor or the wall.
Solo Ager Book
This topic came up because we have been talking about hunting for Bitcoin keys after death. We thought this would be helpful to cover other types of treasure hunts.
You can tell your professional executor that you have hidden things in certain places, but this may not help if you die years later and change the hiding place.
If you want to learn more, click the link below to get a free copy of my book, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan.”
Free copy of “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”
Complete this form to receive your complimentary copy of Anthony’s Amazon best-seller, “The Solo Ager Estate Plan”