Safe deposit box cause a lot of headaches when the box owner dies. Certain people (such as a spouse, a parent, an adult child/grandchild, or a person named as a personal representative in a Will) are allowed to open and look in the box, but only to remove a Will or burial plot or life insurance policy. If you’re not one of the designated people, then you have to get a court order to open the box. Nobody is allowed to remove any contents unless they are a joint owner of the box. The only way to remove the contents is to open a probate administration. This can be very frustrating if you live locally, but imagine if your family members live in another state. Safe deposit boxes are good for items you cannot replace, such as jewelry, collectibles etc. If the item can be replaced (i.e., passport, deed to your house, car title etc) it does not need to be in a safe deposit box. Close your box if you don’t need it and safe your family members the headache and expense of dealing with the box.
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