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How do I get access into a safe deposit box after someone dies?

| Jul 2, 2015 | Probate |

When a person in Florida has a safe-deposit box at a bank or credit union, only they or persons they’ve authorized in writing, can access the box. So what happens if the person dies and no one else is authorized? A Florida attorney can show you where the law provides a solution.

Florida Statutes Section 733.6065 provides that the Personal Representative, or the Personal Representative’s attorney, may petition the applicable probate court for access to the box. If the court orders that access be given, then the circumstances for access are regulated by the statute.

The opening and inspection of the box shall be conducted in the presence of any two of the following persons: an employee of the institution where the box is located, the Personal Representative, or the Personal Representative’s attorney of record. Each person who is present must verify the contents of the box by signing a copy of the inventory under penalties of perjury. The Personal Representative must file the safe-deposit box inventory, together with a copy of the box entry record from a date which is 6 months prior to the date of death to the date of inventory, with the court within 10 days after the box is opened. 

Because court involvement can delay the access to the box and can incur unnecessary expense, you may wish to have another person authorized to access the box. This involves taking them to your bank, adding their name and having their signature on record.

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