Do I need a probate lawyer to open a Safe deposit box?

Asked over 1 year ago - Imperial, MO

My mother passed and left us no instructions. We are trying to find out what was in the safe deposit box, hoping to find a will or some direction.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Jennifer Lynn Finch

    Contributor Level 11

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Attorney Frederick is correct. Many banks will perform a will search of the box, and if a will is found, send it to the probate court in the jurisdiction where the deceased person was a resident. Beyond that, you will need a probate attorney to enforce the will and/or gain access to the remaining items in the safe deposit box.

    Side note to people signing their estate planning documents: This isn't a game of hide and seek! Be sure to discuss with your family at least that you have documents in place, where they are, and how to access them.

    This answer is for informational purposes only and should not be considered specific legal advice, nor does it... more
  2. Donald Joseph Quinn II

    Contributor Level 15

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Banks will do a "Will Search" if you have a key, all the better otherwise it will have to be drilled. If there is one then the bank will present it to the Court and you should retain counsel in any event.

    Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of... more
  3. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In my state, unless you are on the safe deposit box account, you cannot access the box without an order from the probate court. The court usually will grant access to the box only to determine if there is a Will there or a deed to a burial plot. Nothing else can be removed without initiating probate proceedings. It could be different in MO, but it seems to me that you need to at least consult with a probate attorney before doing anything.

    I am very sorry for your loss.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ******... more
  4. M. Todd Miller

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . More than likely the lender will not provide access without court order. Contact a local probate attorney. This is more common than you think.

    NOTE: The use of the Internet for communications with the firm or this attorney will not establish an attorney-... more

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