2019 Indiana Code
Title 29. Probate
Article 1. Probate Code
Chapter 13. Collection and Management of Assets
29-1-13-1.5. Access to safe deposit box; duties of financial institutions

Universal Citation: IN Code § 29-1-13-1.5 (2019)
IC 29-1-13-1.5 Access to safe deposit box; duties of financial institutions

Sec. 1.5. (a) Upon the death of an individual, a financial institution shall grant access in the following order of priority to a safe deposit box leased by the individual at the time of the individual's death:

(1) A surviving joint lessee of the safe deposit box, upon the presentation of proof of the individual's status as a joint lessee.

(2) The personal representative of the individual's estate, upon the presentation of letters testamentary or letters of administration.

(3) The personal representative named in the individual's will, upon the presentation of an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (c) if a probate estate has not been opened.

(4) The trustee of a trust created by the individual that was revocable during the individual's life, upon the presentation of an affidavit meeting the requirements of subsection (c) if a probate estate has not been opened.

(5) Any other individual, upon the presentation of a court order directing access to the safe deposit box.

(b) A person granted access to a safe deposit box under subsection (a) may exercise the following rights:

(1) The right to open the safe deposit box.

(2) The right to remove the contents of the safe deposit box.

(3) The right to cancel the lease for the safe deposit box.

(c) An affidavit required by subsection (a)(3) or (a)(4) must contain the following information:

(1) The name of the individual leasing the safe deposit box and the date of the individual's death.

(2) A statement as to whether the individual died testate or intestate.

(3) The name of the county in which the individual was domiciled at the time of the individual's death.

(4) A statement that no application or petition for the appointment of a personal representative has been granted or is pending in any jurisdiction.

(5) A statement under the penalty of perjury that the affiant is qualified under subsection (a)(3) or (a)(4) to obtain access to the safe deposit box leased by the individual.

(d) Except as provided in subsection (h), a financial institution that is presented with a request for access to a safe deposit box by a person described in subsection (a):

(1) shall grant access to the safe deposit box within three (3) business days of the presentation of the appropriate documentation required by subsection (a); and

(2) is liable to:

(A) the estate of the individual leasing the safe deposit box; or

(B) an individual entitled to access to the safe deposit box under subsection (a);

if it fails to grant access to the safe deposit box within three (3) business days of the presentation of the appropriate documentation required by subsection (a).

(e) A financial institution that provides access to a safe deposit box under this section is discharged and released from liability and responsibility for the assets held in the safe deposit box. The financial institution is not required to:

(1) inquire into the truth of any statement in an affidavit presented under this section; or

(2) participate in the disposition of the assets held in the safe deposit box.

(f) A plaintiff who prevails in an action:

(1) to compel a financial institution presented with a request for access to a safe deposit box in accordance with this section to accept the authority of the person requesting access; or

(2) for damages arising from a financial institution's refusal to grant the requested access;

is entitled to recover the amounts specified in subsection (g).

(g) A prevailing plaintiff described in subsection (f) is entitled to the following:

(1) Three (3) times the amount of the actual damages.

(2) Attorney's fees and court costs.

(3) Prejudgment interest on the actual damages calculated from the date that the appropriate documentation was presented to the financial institution under subsection (a).

(h) If a financial institution requires the services of a locksmith or other contractor to gain access to a safe deposit box, the financial institution has five (5) additional business days to comply with the requirements of subsection (d).

As added by P.L.101-2008, SEC.6.

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