What happens to safe deposit box contents when someone dies depends on whether they had a joint owner. Or made their last Will while they were alive.

Assuming you’re the owner, first, is the box jointly rented? If not, do you have a Last Will?

In this blog, we look at both conditions using the intestacy rules flowchart.

Why is now the best time to know what will happen to your safe deposit box contents when you die?

Suppose you are going to store crucial life documents – which is common with safety deposit boxes – estate documents, wills, and jewellery.

In that case, it’s crucial you know what happens to your safe deposit box contents should you die.

Also, your family members may need some of these documents before the probate goes through.

What happens to safe deposit box contents when the deceased has no Will?

If you die without a Will, the rule of intestacy may apply, giving access to your rightful heirs.

Otherwise, your box is broken into, and items are sold to settle outstanding rental costs, while the balance or remaining items go to government coiffures.

If you have a joint owner or an authorised person, you can rest assured that the content will go to them.

Even better, if you want specific items to go to named persons, then consult a solicitor. Who will be able to help you with ‘revocable trusts’ and how to appoint trustees? See how many names can be on a safety deposit box?

Be aware that if access permissions require multiple persons’ biometric data (for accessing the actual box).

As opposed to just the centre – then the centre may have no choice but to ‘force the box open’ using a locksmith. A charge may be levied for this.

See how much a safety deposit box costs for a comprehensive list of charges.

Here is what happens to safe deposit box contents when someone dies leaving a Will

If the deceased has a Will, access will only be granted to the executor who presented the death certificate, outstanding costs might be charged to the deceased estate or paid by the executor.

If you rent a box in your name and no one has the authority to access it, access options will be limited.

But you can make the last Will that contains details of your safety deposit box.

At the very least, you should let someone know of its existence so that it becomes part of the ‘intestacy’ process.

What if your’ rightful heirs’ or benefactors need something in the box urgently, before ‘intestacy’ or ‘probate’ is completed?

A centre would not give access to anyone when you are alive; that is precisely the same if you die.

Everything would start with proof of death and permission from the executor and probate solicitor.

Adding a second person to your box is, by far, the simplest method.

How do I add someone to my safety deposit box?

To do this, you will need to visit the centre with whoever you wish to authorise. The centre will undergo the same registration process as you did when you signed up.

Whichever option you choose, if they have your spare key, it will simplify the process.

How many keys do you get with a safety deposit box?

You get two keys when you sign up for a safety deposit box. See safety deposit box faqs for details of the cost of extra keys and the process involved.

If any keys go missing, you can request a replacement at an extra cost for a locksmith and a new lock and keys. The cost for different centres and banks is covered in how much a safety deposit box costs.

Final Thoughts

When you die, your safe deposit box contents go to those you have authorised while you are alive. If you have not done this, your last will containing details of your box will be helpful to your heirs and those who wish to access your box.

Contact Soteria Safes for a safety deposit box that provides convenient and secure access to your most valued possessions.

The original version of this article was published in www.stonewallvaults.co.uk