Safe Deposit Boxes

by | Jun 24, 2011 | Articles

Do Safe Deposit Boxes Have To Be Inventoried By The State After Someone Passes Away?

Yes. Because safe deposit boxes may contain assets which are subject to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax, the law prohibits the removal of the contents of any safe deposit box solely-owned by a decedent, or by a decedent and others, except a spouse, without conducting a safe deposit box inventory. (These rules do not apply to boxes jointly owned by husband and wife.)

Who May Enter A Safe Deposit Box After The Death Of A Decedent?

No one is allowed to enter a safe deposit box, not even a joint owner, except to remove a will and/or burial instructions and it must be done in the presence of a bank employee. The bank employee must complete PA Form REV-487 (Entry Into A Safe Deposit Box To Remove A Will Or Cemetery Deed) to record the entry and mail it to the PA Department of Revenue. Pennsylvania law states that the contents of safe deposit boxes must be inventoried before they can be removed.

Who Conducts Safe Deposit Box Inventories And Who Must Be Present At The
Inventory?

A bank employee, a representative of the PA Department of Revenue, or an attorney representing the estate (with written permission from the Department) can conduct safe deposit box inventories. The person conducting the inventory and the executor or administrator of the estate must be present at the inventory. If the executor or administrator of the estate is not present, he/she must give a notarized limited power of attorney to whoever is representing them. If the decedent and a surviving joint owner owned the box, the surviving owner should be present.

How Do I Arrange An Inventory Of A Safe Deposit Box For Someone Who Died In Pennsylvania?

To arrange an inventory of a safe deposit box, contact the financial institution where the box is located to see what items are required to access the box. The law states that a bank official is authorized to perform the inventory. If the bank will not perform the inventory, the attorney who represents the estate may be authorized to perform the inventory, or you may contact the Revenue District Office which serves the county where the box is located.

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