Learn Important Probate Essentials, including key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.
What can you do when you believe the Will is stored in a safe deposit box owned by the deceased? How can you gain access to it? We will discuss that and more in this post.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group. At our firm, we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored. Everything discussed in this post is for general information and is not legal advice – for specific information about your situation, please go here to request a complimentary consultation with one of our inheritance lawyers.
It is not uncommon for a Will to be stored in a safe deposit box that the deceased owned. Once someone passes away, however, gaining access to their safe deposit box is a lot more complicated.
If you simply go to the bank and ask, the bank personnel are very likely to deny you access (and they should!). The reason for this is that once someone has passed away, the only way to access their safe deposit box is with the permission of the Probate Court.
The most common way to access the box is to file a special petition requesting permission to access the box. While there are other options, this method tends to be the quickest one.
Once the Probate Court reviews the petition, the Judge may or may not hold a hearing. After that, if the Court approves the request, the Judge will issue an order authorizing the financial institution to open the box and allow the person identified in the order to access the contents.
Usually, within a few days, the bank will set an appointment for the box to be opened. The person authorized by the order will be allowed to review the contents of the box in the presence of bank personnel. If an original Will or copy of a Will is found, it must be turned over to the Probate Court immediately.
For more information about this and other probate topics, please go to GPLG.com/Handbook to download a complimentary copy of our Georgia Probate Handbook. You’ll learn the key things that go wrong in an estate, how to prevent them, and what to do if they happen.
You also can reach out to our office at (770) 796-4582 to set up a consultation.
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