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Safe Deposit "Goof"

The husband (let's call him "John") came in and rented a safe deposit box in his name alone.

He came in soon after to put his wife (let's call her "Mary") on as deputy on the box.

Mary became a familiar figure in the branch after that. On the last Monday afternoon of each month, she would come in long enough to put several savings bonds into the box. Any one of the three customer service representatives were responsible for safe deposit access, and each one of them, at one time or another, let Mary in the box after she had signed the access slip.

One day Mary chatted with the safe deposit box attendant, and asked her what the restrictions were on the bonds she was putting into the box each month.

The attendant took a look at the bonds and explained to Mary that as the bonds read "John or Mary", that meant the bonds belonged to each of the persons named, and that either of them could cash them in.

Had the bonds read "John POD to Mary", Mary would not have been able to cash the bonds until John died. The "POD" stands for "Payable On Death".

Several months later, one of the customer service representatives was approached by Mary who wanted her usual Monday afternoon access to John's safe deposit box.

The representative remembers thinking how fast the month was passing by?here it was the last week of the month already!

Mary signed the access ticket, and they went into the vault to get the box.

Mary took the box to the booth, and was a little longer than usual, coming out with a plastic bag full of papers that she took with her after she returned the box to the vault.

As she left the branch, the manager said to the customer service rep, "Did I just see Mary in here?"

When told that she did, the manager said, "Well, I sure hope you saw the flag on the safe deposit box signature card. John came in first thing this morning and took her off as deputy on his box. She can't go in there any more."

The law suit comes up this year?

Copyright © 1990 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2/90

First published on 02/01/1990

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