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Wills in a Safe Deposit Box

It is often the case that individuals will spends loads of time, money, and effort pouring over the details of their estate documents and then place them (often at the instruction of their attorney) in a safe deposit box at a bank. Cautious individuals will even go so far as to inform their heirs/children that if something were to happen to them, the documents contained in the safe deposit box provide instruction as to how to handle the remaining property/assets. What happens, however, when the heirs/children are denied access to a safe deposit box?

Missouri law has a specific statute addressing what happens when a will is in a safe deposit box and cannot be accessed. Section 473.043(2)-(3) provides:

2. Wills of decedents found in safe deposit boxes are in the custody of the depository for the purposes of this section and said depository may make a copy of the will before delivering it to the proper court.

3. If the probate division of the circuit court is satisfactorily informed that any person has in his possession the will of any testator, and refuses to produce the same, the court may summon the person, and compel him, by attachment and commitment, to produce the same.

Contact us with Missouri probate questions.

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