Accessing Wills In Decedents’ Safety Deposit Box
Sometimes clients come to us knowing the decedent had a safety deposit box at a particular bank, and suspect there is an original Will in it. If the safe deposit box account is titled only in the name of the decedent a “Catch-22” exists, in that the client cannot obtain Letters Testamentary without the will and cannot obtain the Will with the Letters Testamentary. Even where the client held a durable power of attorney from the decedent, the authority granted by it terminates at the moment of the decedent’s death. The professionals at Lyons Sullivan represent clients in a special court proceeding authorizing the client to access the safe deposit box and remove any original Wills found for filing with the court and probate by the named Personal Representative if necessary. In some counties it may be necessary to get the court to appoint a Special Administrator to access the safety deposit box. Disposition of the other contents of the safe deposit box must await the appointment of a Personal Representative or Administrator.