Skip to comments.*Vanity* I have a safe deposit box key, now what? *Vanity*
Posted on 02/07/2014 12:33:10 PM PST by null and void
Since FReepers know everything...
Amongst my late father's effects we found a safe deposit box key. Little blue envelope, a box number hand written on the flap, nothing to identify which bank or branch.
Is there some way short of going to each of the thousands of banks in a hundred mile radius to determine where the box might be?
List it on Ebay.
when you get a bill to renew the box, you’ll know where to go.
You don’t have any banking records? That’s the first, most obvious thought. The second thought I had was in wondering if it was even paid up.
WOW. Interesting question. Did he have any bank accounts or bank CDs? That would be the best start, with any bank/s he used for other transactions.
Then go through his checks or checkbook to see if he had a renewal fee for the safety deposit box, paid in the past year. ?
Hopefully others will have better ideas. Good luck.
No old bank statements to be found laying around somewhere? The other thing you can do is see if he had any unclaimed funds sent into the state where he lived. If he had a safe box that he hadn’t used in a long time, and had an account there that was equally unused, the funds had to be sent into the state when there was no activity on that account.
Did you father have any Bank/Credit Union records in his effects. They may give you a clue?
We haven’t. It’s been years.
Yes, wait for the bill.
Look for his cancelled checks and then go there
I think you’re going to just have to go to banks one-by-one. Look around for some sort of bill from the bank charging for the safe deposit box. Usually mailed yearly.
We are not certain we know of all his accounts.
I would start with any banks he has had other dealings with.
Good idea. We’ll check.
How do you know it’s not a key to a bus station locker?
Another thought: guessing he had the box for .... ~30+ years, perhaps? Think about the area banks that have physically been around for that long. Of course, if he’d moved more recently, then that thought is moot.
He probably didn’t go far away from his house. Chances are good it is a bank he used. There are probably records of paying for it in his cancelled checks or credit card statements. I hope you find a million dollars or some wonderful treasure!
It may cost a few bucks but couldn’t a locksmith identify the key to at least narrow down the possible number of banks? I’ll defer to those here who know better about these things.
Take it to an old locksmith.
Amazing the stuff they know, makes, models, identifying marks, lot numbers...
One of those guys might be able to look at it, dig out a catalog and tell you that those were made for XXX bank and what years..
Be sure to take letters of executor for his estate with you to each bank for which you can find any receipts among his papers. When I did my father’s estate I had to contact banks in VA where he lived previous to retiring, to find all the trails for accounts. I still had a key that looked like a bus station locker key which I never did connect to a source.
If its still valid, there has been an annual fee that has been paid for keeping the box. Track it that way.
A box cannot be opened by anyone other than those on the list or those authorized (in writing) by the estate lawyer.
Rather than travel to that many banks, consider:
1)taking a picture of the key,
2)use the web to build a list of banks in a 10 mile radius,
3)email each branch explaining your situation
in the email, give them the full name and address
and ask if the picture of the key matches their boxes.
This worked for my grandmother’s box but there were only 10 banks in that area of rural GA.
Oh, should have read down. It’s been years, you say. Hmm, after X amount of time, it may have already been turned over to the government. Check your state’s unclaimed money and property. I take it you don’t have his statements anymore? Then start calling each of the banks he used over the years. On second thought, go by each of his banks in person so they have to deal with you face to face. It’s too easy to poo-poo you off on the phone. It’s unlikely he had a box that he didn’t bank at. If you can’t find it, then tell yourself he emptied it decades ago and forgot to return the key so you don’t worry over it.
Possible strategy at 1:11.
The good, the bad and the ugly - Ecstasy of Gold
1. Call 911 immediately.
2. Cower in a corner until the cops show up.
3. After they shoot your dog, turn over the key to the authorities.
If it’s been years since the bill was paid, the box has likely long since been drilled and re-let. Check abandoned property records for the state in question to see if anything was turned in.
And if it’s been long enough, the physical bank or branch might not even still be in existence. If you want to track it down as a hobby, have at it, but you are unlikely to find a pot of gold at the end of the road.
Go to your local post office. Ask for priority mail envelope
Put key in envelope
Seal envelope and sent it Immediately to VRWCarea51
Wait until you hear from me to proceed.
All kidding aside. I think I would as the executor or have the executor ask each bank that he did business with to send you a years statement. One should show a deduction or payment for the box. If not, I would look to the nearest bank that was in business for the past 25 years. Most likely the old hometown bank.
If not proceed to the next bank and repeat....good luck.
A thought also, back in the day when we lived in Rural America our Post office had safe deposit boxes...worth looking into.
Which bank handled his checking account?
I’m not sure how they do it, but I had the same problem with a relative that died. We found numerous keys to safe deposit boxes etc in the house. The estate lawyers found all the locations, but you do have to have authority via executor of the estate to open them. A good estate lawyer (which will be invaluable in settling the estate and is well worth the cost) knows how to handle these problems. They deal with them all the time. For what it’s worth.
Most safe deposit boxes have yearly fees, so start hunting in your father’s check book for any checks made out to Banks or Savings and Loans. Banks will waive fees on accounts if their customers have large balances, so also check anyplace he held a savings account or CD.
Try the comptrollers office...unclaimed funds in your state.
I’d inquire at any bank before I called a locksmith.
Another thought...send a copy of the death certificate and a clear photocopy of the key to every bank you would have gone to. Describe the situation to them in a clear letter. You may get a hit if one of them will request you prove you are the rightful heir before confirming the existence of the box.
Look at it as an adventure. And an excuse to stop at every donut shop within a hundred mile radius.
Then, yes, call every bank in 100 mile radius. Tell them that he died, that you think he had accounts there, and ask them to confirm whether or not he did. Also, as another FReeper suggested, check the state’s abandoned property records.
most limey where he does banking
If your family is anything like mine, it will contain a post-it note with “You’re ADOPTED!” on it and nothing else.
Shoot me a pic later.
Take the key a bank. They usually know what other bank uses that key type.
Just thought of something.
Go to State if California website.
They have a lost and found department.
If it is less than 10 years old you van probably get it.
If it is more than 10 years old it has likely been forfeited in a sale of lots.
Probably not valid any more.......With that being said, there is a website that you can access to see if your state treasury has any funds held in your name. I discovered my state was holding $750 in my name, and for what reason I do not know..........
That many years ago some banks offered a free safety deposit box with account, some people got them and never used them so it was/is possibly empty but I would have to track it down myself if possible- am too curious to let it alone. You would need to know where he has had bank accounts or did most of his banking.
The first thing to do is obtain another safe deposit box to put the key and little blue envelope into until you find the other box. And don’t forget which bank you put it into.
Many banks have waiting lists for boxes, and most won’t rent you one unless you have an account with them. If it’s not at his regular bank, find out which ones in your area will rent one without an account.
Nully, unclaimed property is also known as “escheat”, when you are googling your state’s unclaimed property information.
Let this be a lesson. Write on a piece of paper all accounts you have so your loved ones don’t have to go through this.
There seems to be no time limit. Probably depends on the money grubbing qualities of your state legislature.
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