Banks and Credit Unions

TOD or POD to Trust

Where a beneficiary has set up a payable on death or transfer on death designation, the account will pass automatically to the named beneficiary as a nontestamentary transfer - without a need for probate.  Where a TOD or POD instructs the bank to distribute the account to a trust, it is often necessary to provide the bank with an updated trust certificate of authority and death certificate.

TOD or POD to Person(s)

Where a POD or TOD instructs a bank to distribute the account to named individuals, they will usually need to appear at the bank personally and provide a death certificate in order to access the bank funds. 

No Beneficiary Named on Account

If no beneficiary is listed on the bank account, it may be necessary to either provide the bank with a small estates affidavit or initiate a probate.  If the estate is small (under $100,000), the small estate affidavit may work.  If the estate is large, probate may be necessary. 

Safe Deposit Boxes

Means and Issues with Accessing a Safe Deposit Box

It may be easiest to identify and locate a deceased person's safe deposit boxes by looking through their most recent bank statements.  If the deceased person worked with the bank to list a joint tenant for their safe deposit box on the lease, then access to the box should be straight forward.  Utah Code Annotated 75-6-201(3) provides for easy access to a joint tenant on a safe deposit box lease agreement.  


However, if no person was given access to the bank deposit box, it may be necessary to appoint an executor or personal representative to access the safe deposit box.