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?
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.