Dealing with safe deposit boxes in Pennsylvania

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2023 | Estate Planning

The death of a loved one in Pennsylvania may raise a whole host of financial issues. This is especially true when they have left many assets in a safe deposit box. If you have been named as the executor of an estate, you will have to navigate this problem. There are rules and regulations governing this situation that you will have to follow.

Safe deposit box regulations in Pennsylvania

There exists a wealth of very clearly defined laws that govern the topic of probate and estate administration in Pennsylvania. For example, you may know that some of the deceased person’s assets are in a safe deposit box. But this doesn’t mean that you can simply get the key from the bank and open it.

Instead, state law mandates that the executor provide written notice to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue at least seven days in advance. A copy of this notice must be provided to the financial institution where the box is stored. You must also provide a sworn statement to the bank that notice has been given to the state Department of Revenue.

What happens after the notice is provided?

You will be legally entitled to open the box seven days after filing the notice. This will be for the official purpose of inventorying its contents. You are also permitted to remove any documents related to the will or trust itself. Finally, you can also take away any deeds of instruction related to the burial.

You must file a completed Safe Deposit Box Inventory Form REV-485 within 20 days of accessing the box. This will be sent to the PA Department of Revenue. Your right to access the box will then be fully established.