Just wanted to make everyone who resides in New York State, that their banking law requires a Court Order from Surrogate Court to open the safety deposit box.
It will be a problem if the Power of Attorney, Will or Trust documents are located in the safety deposit box.
It was discussed previously in this thread:
https://law.justia.com/codes/new-york/2 ... _2003.html
US Law US Codes and Statutes New York Code 2006 New York Code Surrogate\'s Court Procedure Proceeding To Open Safe Deposit Box Opening Safe Deposit Box
2006 New York Code - Opening Safe Deposit Box
§ 2003. Opening safe deposit box
1. When it appears to the court by petition that a person, firm or
corporation has in its possession or under its control papers of a
decedent of whose estate the court has jurisdiction or that the decedent
has leased from them a safe deposit box and that such papers or safe
deposit box may contain a will of the decedent, a deed to a burial plot
in which the decedent is to be interred or a policy of insurance issued
in the name of the decedent and payable to a designated beneficiary, it
may make an order ex parte directing such person, firm or corporation to
permit a person named in the order to examine the papers or safe deposit
box and to make an inventory of the papers or of the contents of the
safe deposit box in the presence of an authorized employee or agent of
such person, firm or corporation, and if a paper purporting to be a will
of the decedent, a deed to the burial plot or a policy of insurance be
found to deliver the will to the clerk of the court, personally or by
registered mail as directed by the court or the deed to the person
designated in the order or the policy of insurance to the beneficiary
named therein. The clerk shall furnish a receipt upon delivery to him
of the will.
2. Notwithstanding any provisions of subdivision one of this section,
a safe deposit company, trust company, bank, corporation, firm or other
person, having in its possession, or under its control one or more safe
deposit boxes shall permit an individual or individuals each of whom
being a joint lessee with the decedent of said safe deposit box or
boxes, or a deputy
authorized by the decedent to have access to said
safe deposit box or boxes, to examine and make copies of, in the
presence and under the supervision of an officer of the company, bank,
corporation or firm, any paper or papers found in said safe deposit box
or boxes bearing upon the desire of the deceased as to the disposal of
his remains, or deed to a cemetery plot, or proof of membership in a
burial society. For purposes of this subdivision, the term "deputy"
shall mean the person who had access to the decedent's safe deposit box
or boxes and to the contents thereof on the last day of decedent's life.
After copies have been made of the paper or papers described in this
subdivision, the original paper or papers shall be resealed in the safe
deposit box or boxes and such officer shall certify that such papers
have been resealed and file such certification with the surrogate's
In my mother's case, this was a big problem because she was the Primary box holder and I was the Secondary, in NYS it is called a Deputy
and from what I understand it is not the same as Joint Account Holder.
My mother was an immigrant and it took a lot of convincing for me to change the location of the Bank Branch (closer to where she lived).
She did not trust me with the box, she didn't like the change from her to me as the Primary but me being 30 Years younger than her, the chance of me out living her was greater. She did not trust anyone, she left $14K cash all over her apartment.
She died this year and the branch was closing and forgot where the key was.