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Father died in December. I just found out that he has a safe…

Father died in December. I...
Father died in December. I just found out that he has a safe deposit box at a local Bank with no beneficiary listed. I also found out that the bank has allowed my two other siblings to access the box to see what was in it. my question is this legal? No one has filed probate yet? How were they able to access his safe deposit box?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/29/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

The only way they could access the box if no beneficiary was listed on the box would be if they had an affidavit of heirship or letters of administration from the probate court. If they did not have the proper documents, the bank had no legal right to allow access. You could sue the bank if they allowed access without proper documentation and you could sue for any losses you can prove you incurred as a result.

If nothing has been filed at probate court and you are sure, then they should not have been allowed access.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Even though nothing if nothing was removed out of the box? they still should not have had access without the documentations you listed above?

Thank you for your reply.

That is correct, they should not have been allowed access without at least letters of administration.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: Experienced in Trust and Succession Law, including Louisiana Laws
Verified
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I recently confirmed by the bank that they did allow access to the box. They have turned this matter over to their attorney to handle from this point on probably because know I found out about the access. Now I'm expected by the other siblings to sign affidavit this morning,that I have a copy of, stating that the owner of the box is our father etc and its also stating that for the bank allowing us to retrieve the items, each undersigned agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the bank and all of its employees from any liability of any kind whatsoever that might arise, as a result of the bank allowing us to retrieve the items. My siblings already know what in the box but have failed to tell me as well. If I sign this document this morning will it block me from suing this bank for allowing my siblings access without proper documentation?

Thank you for your reply.

I would tell them that until you have proof of what was in the box, which was taken without authority and without full disclosure, you will sign nothing and you will be filing an objection to the probate in court to force them to disclose. I would not sign anything since you have that proof that the bank allowed improper access to the box.

Your suit against the bank would occur if you can prove that something has been taken from the box that has caused you financial harm.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Nothing has been taken from the box as of yet per the bank.

Thank you for your reply.

If nothing has been taken from the box, then you at least have to force the heirs to disclose the contents. If they disclose the contents, then you should sign the release. If there was nothing taken from the box, then there is really nothing to sue the bank over at this point.

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