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How to handle an abandoned safe deposit box

Can a safe deposit box be declared "abandoned" and the contents turned over to the government?

Yes, but only if the customer doesn't pay the rental fee for a number of years (as determined by state law) and after attempts to notify and locate you prove unsuccessful. In that case, the box may be reported as abandoned and the contents will be turned over to the state's unclaimed property office. Often this happens because the renter dies and the heirs have no knowledge of the box or its contents. The good news is that even if the state has sold your unclaimed property, the original owner and his/her heirs still have the right to claim its value.

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First published on 05/16/2016

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