How Should I Handle a Safe Deposit Box?

A safe deposit box can always complicate an administration.

If you are dealing with a probate administration without an original will on hand, the safe deposit box should be inspected for a will prior to the personal representative (administrator/executor) being appointed by the court. The reason for this is to ensure that a more recent will does not exist which will increase expenses in the future.

Probate Code Section 331 permits access to a safe deposit box prior to the appointment of a personal representative solely to retrieve an original will and to deliver it to the court.

In a trust administration, a safe deposit box can usually be accessed through use of small administration procedures.

In probate administration, a safe deposit box can be generally accessed after appointment of a personal representative.

In either case, the safe deposit box should be opened with another person and inventoried at the time of opening the safe deposit box to minimize the likelihood of disputes in the future.

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