Safe Deposit Box, Power of Attorney: Entry with Power of Attorney

Question

Can you give me details about using a Power of Attorney for entry into a safe deposit box?

Answer

In most cases, if the principal (the one who created the power of attorney) wanted the attorney-in-fact (the one who was given power to act for the principal) to have the right to enter a safe deposit box, he or she would have given the attorney-in-fact the key to the box.  But if the standard durable power of attorney form is used and the principal checks the box on the power of attorney that says the attorney-in-fact has the authority to deal with financial institutions, then the safety deposit box is specifically mentioned, and I would not deny the attorney-in-fact access.  If the principal or the principal\'s heirs later challenged the entry into the box, then he or she could sue the attorney-in-fact and the bank would have a defense that it relied on the power of attorney.  So this is not a major issue.

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