What to do if my aunt died in poverty and only left a safety deposit box but no one has access?

She had a Will but never filed it. I was on her account to receive her bank account but I do not think she realized it did not mean the safety deposit box. We do not have a key so now no one has access. I live pretty far away.

Asked on February 20, 2015 under Estate Planning, Utah


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

At this point, the only thing to be done is to file for probate. Actually, since the estate is negligable, it can qualify for something known as a "small estate" filing. This is essentially an expedited probate. In fact, depending on the state, you may just have to file an affidavit. Once this is done, you (or whoever wants to be the personal representative or the like) will be given the legal authority to have the bank give them access to your late aunt's safety deposit box.

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