Hiding valuables

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There were a number of posts awhile back about how and where to hide cash or other valuables should one choose not to keep them in the bank.

There is something to take into consideration however....What happens if (God forbid) you are killed in a car accident or the like, sometime between now and Y2K? Will your children or loved ones know where you have hidden things? Have you considered leaving detailed instructions on how to find your stash? And where would you leave these instructions?

We have made a very creative hiding place for our things, but hesitate to tell anyone....even our grown kids....how to locate it. It suddenly occured to me that should we be killed, it may never be found.

I considered leaving instructions in a bank safe deposit box, but even that doesn't seem like such a great idea. Has anyone else considered this problem?

-- Sheila (sross@bconnex.net), May 01, 1999



Everybody has a different situation, and there never is a perfect answer to this basic dilemma. I presume you don't want to tell the kids in advance about where this "buried treasure" is? Do you belong to a good church? If you do, and you are well known there, you could put final instructions in a sealed envelope with your kids names on it and have someone in the records department of the church hold onto it and deliver it to them upon your death, or disappearance. If you don't have such a contact within a good church, now would be the time to start on one. I'm sure there are other possible ideas. This is just one.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), May 01, 1999.

I, too, have wondered what one should do, in that case. If you have a file cabinet, you could make up a file folder, put a sealed envelope with your information in it, and let one or more of your children know that in case of your demise, there is information they should need to know about in that particular file.

If you have several children, and wanted your cash to be given in uneven lots (i.e., more to one than the rest,) this could be a problem. Can anyone come up with a solution for that?

-- Jo Ann (MaJo@Michiana.com), May 01, 1999.

Jo Ann,

If I may make a suggestion about leaving unequal amounts of cash, valuables, etc, to your kids, *don't*. I have seen this happen many times in my life and without exception it has caused immense misery. I have a good friend, an attorney in his 80s, and he tells stories of the horror he has witnessed at the reading of will, many times. The ones who get less will hate you for the rest of their life. And the ones who get less will hate the others too, for getting more. You will leave a legacy of hatred and bitter feelings. Split it up equally or accept the unhappiness you will leave in your wake.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), May 01, 1999.

Brings to mind a true story that happened in my mother's family. The old home place stood vacant for about 40 years and was finally struck by lightning and burned. It must have been a rather hot fire, because while my uncle was sifting through the ashes and cleaning up the rubble, he came upon a rather large hunk of melted-together coins weighing about 25-30 lbs. It was difficult to tell, but he believed it to be all silver. My uncle still had this "hunk of money" as he called it when he died. I guess my cousins have it now.

The point is, that a sack of money was hidden somewhere in the house and nobody knew of it except my great-great-grandfather, and he took its existance to the grave.

Anyway, Sheila's post brought it to mind.


-- Gerald R. Cox (grcox@internetwork.net), May 02, 1999.

Leave instructions for your children to burn your house down, and instruct them to look for large globular chunks of gold and silver.

-- Pyro (burnit@baby.baby), May 02, 1999.

I haven't yet checked part of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption software yet, but I think you can encrypt your information, then supposedly construct different keys to give to different people. Only one key will not decrypt, but takes more, lessening chance of collusion to prematurely decrypt. I don't know if you can set it for 2 out of 2, 3 out of 3, 2 out of 3, or whatever. Worth looking into. Do a search, and can find a download site from MIT.

-- A (A@AisA.com), May 02, 1999.

Great post. Gordon, great advice. Pyro, you sure know how to get a point across.

I would like to ad that if you don't have someone close who can be trusted upon your demise then that is a part of your team you need to work on.

Here is one idea. If you know of someone who also has children and is someone you trust and respect then ask them if they would like to form a mutual pact whereby, when one of you pass away, the other takes in the kids and takes over the money and follows your will. It takes trust but in the old days this was the order of the day. Have an attorney ratify and watch over your agreement.

-- Tomcat (tomcat@cat.com), May 02, 1999.

Make a treasure map, with cryptic clues, and send it to the kids, and anyone else that you desire to share your estate with. You can tell them not to open it until you are gone, or have your executor hold on to it until the ready of the will. If they are smart enough to find it, then good. If they are not, then they don't deserve it.

Wasn't there a movie or two using this premise???

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 02, 1999.

Thanks folks.....good advice from all of you. I'm still tossing around different solutions...I like the idea of the Church Gordon, except that I imagine Churches will be targets of looters just as Banks would be. I'm looking at this as a "worst case scenario", since I don't see any reason to make half-way preparations for any disaster. To my mind, you either cover EVERY base you can think of, or just don't bother.

So far, I'm leaning towards telling each of the kids where the stash is, and the approximate total. As we deplete it, we will put "reciepts" in, so they will each have an accounting of it. I know this all sounds morbid, or that I don't trust my kids, but that really isn't it. I just don't want to do anything that would cause them to mistrust each other, or squabble or to put temptation in anyone's way. I don't think we can rely on a WILL as we do today.....what happens if the lawyer's office is destroyed? Will the Courts be operational for the next few years? Will real-estate records be available?

Along the same line, I have another question as well. Many people suggest Treasury Bills as a "safe haven" for the time ahead, but since you cannot physically hold the bills, how will we prove ownership? I imagine a "statement" won't be sufficient. Gov't bonds on the other hand, ARE "in hand". The interest rates are comparable (dismal!) Any thoughts?

-- Sheila (sross@bconnex.net), May 02, 1999.

Shiela,a small fire proof safe,hidden in your house with the combo given to friend/relative may be an idea for you.I have one myself and have seen it work well for others.good luck.

-- capnfun (capnfun@notfunatall.com), May 02, 1999.

How about giving one number of the combo to one kid, the second to the other, and so on? (if there's more numbers than kids, two numbers each or one double-digit number to one kid or something..)

As to unequal distribution, easy. Just leave the money to be apportioned by the one who gets the most! ;)

-- Leo (lchampion@ozemail.com.au), May 02, 1999.

Sure Leo, but hide the guns first!!!

-- J (jart5@bellsouth.net), May 02, 1999.

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