What to Do With a Safe Deposit Box Immediately after Death

You may have reasons to want access to a safe deposit box immediately after the death of a loved one. For example, many people may leave written funeral instructions or a will in their safe deposit box.


Under California law, if a financial institution is holding a safe deposit box in the decedent’s sole name, a person who has a key to the box may obtain access to remove wills, trusts and instructions for burial or other arrangements. Copies of everything taken out of the safe deposit box must be put into the box.


The opening of the safe deposit box is permitted under supervision of a bank supervisor or employee.


If you have any other questions about the safe deposit box of a decedent, call a probate attorney for help.

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