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The Illinois Safety Deposit Box Opening Act

 Posted on August 20, 2012 in Estate Planning

We have talked about critical documents, living wills, and how to plan your digital estate, but now we will look at a different but related subject. The Illinois State Law has a Safety Deposit Box Opening Act as part of the estate law. The act sets the conditions under which a safety deposit box may be opened after a lessee's death.

Section one states that after being given satisfactory proof of death of a sole lessee or the last surviving co-lessee of a safety deposit box, the lessor shall open the box and examine the contents in the presence of a person who presents themselves and has an affidavit. The affidavit needs to state that: the person is interested in filing of the lessee's will or in the arrangements of their burial; the person believes the box may contain the will or burial documents of the lessee; he is an interested person within the meaning of the Safety Deposit Box Opening Act. An experienced estate planning attorney in Cook County can help educate you about safety deposit boxes and estate planning.

The lessor does not have to open the box if it has been opened before according to the Act, or if they have received a copy of letters of office from the representative of the estate. If the key or combination is not available, the lessor does not need to open the box. There are a few other parts to this that can be found in the Act itself.

The act defines the earlier mentioned interested person as: "any person who immediately prior to the death of the lessee had the right of access to the box as a deputy, any person named as executor in a copy furnished by him of a purported will of the lessee, or the spouse, an adult descendant, parent, brother or sister of the lessee. If the affidavit states that none of the persons described above is available to be present at the opening of the box, the term "interested person" also means any other person who the lessor in its sole discretion determines may have a legitimate interest in the filing of the lessee's will or in the arrangements for his burial."

There are many intricacies regarding dealing a deceased's estate and the laws behind it. Whether you are drafting your estate planning documents or going through other troubles regarding estate planning, you should not do it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois estate planning lawyer, and have them help you with your legal needs.

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