While people often use safety deposit boxes to hold valuable items such as jewelry, cash, and collections, they also use them to store important papers such as wills and other estate documents. Upon death, it is important to immediately access the contents of safe deposit boxes, particularly if they contain the decedent’s will.
In New York, the only way to access the safe deposit box of a decedent is with a court order. The court will only entertain petitions to open safe deposit boxes if they are from a the nearest surviving distribute, a beneficiary, or the fiduciary. SCPA §2003. In the case of In re the Estates of Adelewitz, the court considered who has the right to petition access to safe deposit boxes that were part of the estates of a husband and wife- Steven and Rita Adelewitz.