Answers to Common Questions and Situations

We know how complex and confusing probate situations can be, and did our best to organize an easy to follow knowledge base to help address some of your most pressing questions. Get in Touch
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How to Find a Will in a Safe Deposit Box?

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.

can an executor open a safety deposit boxMy 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.

safety deposit box

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.

A common way to access a Safe Deposit Box

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.

executor can open a safety deposit boxFor 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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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & ceo

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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