Don’t put your Will in your safe deposit box!

It seems like a good idea at the time. You keep all your important papers in the safe deposit box at your local bank branch. But putting your will in that box can create a big headache for your family if you die.

Once you have passed away, the bank will not allow anyone other than your executor to go into your safe deposit box. And your executor needs your will to present to the court in order to be appointed as your executor. So what can your family do about this Catch 22?

There is a special proceeding in Surrogate’s Court to open a safe deposit box belonging to a decedent. Under Article 20 of the Surrogate’s Court Practice Act (“SCPA”), an ex parte petition can be made to court for an order directing the bank to open the box and retrieve a will, a life insurance policy, or a deed to a burial plot.

But why have anyone go through these hassles and expenses if you don’t have to.