Avoid probate of safe deposit boxes
If you pass away with a safe deposit box in your name only, it will require probate for your children to open it.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Chrissy, yesterday I had the son of a longtime client or some previous client come to see me. His dad had passed away and we had taken steps with dad to avoid probate including a ladybird deed, including making bank accounts POD. Everything had worked beautifully except for one thing.
Chrissy Merrill: What's that?
Attorney Tom Olsen: Dad passed away with a safe-deposit box in dad's name only. Folks, when we're counseling people about avoiding probate, I'll always ask you, "Do you have a safe deposit box?" If the answer is yes, then I'm going tell you, "Look, you need to add at least one of your children's names to that safe-deposit box so they can get into it if you pass away.
If you take all steps necessary to avoid probate and you die with a safe-deposit box in your name only, it will take a full administration probate to get into that box, several thousand dollars, and that can be very disappointing if there's nothing but some old papers in there." For our clients that have safe-deposit boxes, our recommendation to them is either get rid of them, if there's nothing of value in there or at least add one of your children's names to the box.
Chrissy Merrill: Isn't that a shame? Everything else was done, but again, you still had that probate if there is a safety deposit box with only one name.
Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, here's the kind of a shame too. He goes, "Tom, I was in there with my dad a few years ago and there were some gems in there, maybe a little bit gold in there, but gosh, is it still make it worthwhile to spend several thousand dollars get in there?"
He's still thinking about it, so he knows that there at least one point in time there was something in there and it's got to be really tempting for him to spend that money with us to do the probate to get in that box. He's still thinking about it, but again, folks, that's the moral with the safe deposit boxes, either get rid of it or make sure one of your children are a co-owner of that box with you and they know where the keys are.