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NYS law regarding joint ownership of safe deposit box & surviving co-owner.

Mineola, NY |
Filed under: Estate planning

My husband & I had a safe deposit box, the rental contract with the bank is in both names, he passed away and now the bank says I cannot access the contents of the box until I get permission from the surrogate's court. Is this correct?

Attorney Answers 2


If you are legally the co-owner, court involvement should not be necessary. Nevertheless, we spend a lot of time arguing with non-lawyer bank employees over what the law says. I would persist with the bank manager and if you do not have success consider getting an attorney involved.

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If the box is in both your names, then you have the right to access the box without court involvement. speak to the manager about your situation.

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