Safety deposit box issues when one co-owner dies. Anyone else experience this?

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In New York state a safety deposit box held at a bank cannot be opened by the wife, a joint-owner, a POA, once one of the co-owner's dies. The deceased's will must be brought to the appropriate county court, whereby the judge scrutinizes the deceased's will, hopefully determines that it is valid, verifies who the beneficiary is, then prepares a document that allows the proper party to present it to the bank in order to be granted permission to open the box. Sometimes, a court appointed attorney is assigned to witness the opening of the box and examine its contents as well. This "law" is a bunch of BS, but there is no other way to get to that safety box once an owner is deceased. Anyone else experience this?

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One believe that you would have to pay probate fees to open an estate and a state examiner may need to be present to inventory the box so the state can be assured that any assets in the box are claimed on the estate tax return , at least that is what I had to do in pennsylvania.
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I realize that POA ends at the patient's death. So, taking in a death certificate doesn't work? Which reminds me, get all utilities and cable put in the wife's name. We had to get death certificates, 10 years later to shut off cable, which had been in my FIL's name and not his wife. Cable would not accept the POA. Neither would the phone company.
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If it is empty why can't you just stop paying the fees, give keys back and the box would be declared abandoned or unclaimed?
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Thanks for the response pamstegman, but the box is empty; the bank knows that it's empty, and all parties involved know that it is empty. We have the keys for this box and all we want to do is close/release the safety box from our possession. It held 2 pieces of jewelry, wills, ad other paperwork The wife was/is the joint and co-owner and the beneficiary on EVERYTHING. The bank is aware. However, New York state law,in these cases, seem to follow no common sense. Some discretion should be applied here because the box is EMPTY.
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It's called Probate, and it prevents a lot of dishonest relatives from stealing.
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