What happens to your safe deposit box when you pass away? Do you need access to the safe deposit box of a loved one that recently passed away?
Discover what happens when you pass and have safe deposit boxes.
Basic information about safety deposit boxes when you pass away
When renting safety deposit boxes, you likely do not think about what happens to the contents when you die. Do you think that loved ones simply inform your credit union or bank that you passed, and that they want your safe deposit box contents?
Laws vary somewhat from one state to another state but are similar in nature. Some loved ones possibly cannot access it at all.
Forgotten or recently discovered safe deposit boxes
Some individuals do not have reason to visit the safe deposit box frequently to add or remove documents or valuables. Perhaps they forget about it. It is then a surprise upon the person’s death when loved ones discover the existing safe deposit box.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) explains that financial institutions require that you produce a death certificate, and court appointment as executor if there is a safe deposit box in the name of the deceased.
Get information on contents turned over to the state unclaimed property office if the financial institution considered it abandoned.
Statutes covering safe deposit box access upon your death
Laws restrict who has access to safe deposit boxes when the person that rented it died.
An example is that Section 34-19-50 of the South Carolina Code of Laws requires that the financial institution open the safe deposit box for examination by spouse, parent, adult children, grandchildren, or person named as executor.
No items other than wills, deeds, and life insurance policies can be released to beneficiaries at that time without court order.
Make sure you specify who has access to your safe deposit box upon your passing or allow that person access through the initial safe deposit rental contract.