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Probate and Safe Deposit Box

Probate and Safe Deposit Boxes

You and your spouse own all your property jointly. Your spouse passes away; you get everything by operation of law as the joint holder of the property. Except now you go to the bank to open the safe deposit box and you inform your banker of the unfortunate news and she/he tells you that you cannot access the safe deposit box. What? - You say. The banker explains that since the co-owner is deceased, the bank requires you to obtain authority from the court to allow you access from this point forward.

Although the steps could be simple, it is a two-step process. It normally involves hiring an attorney and filing a Petition with the Court to open the safe deposit box. Then, depending upon what is in there once a complete inventory of the box is undertaken by you in the presence of the banker after the authority from the court is procured, you have to take the second step to acquire additional authority from the court to remove those items from the box and distribute them. The same is true if you jointly own a safe deposit box with a parent or another individual.

If you find yourself in this situation, we can help you. Call us @ 516-570-4016.