- Posted by consulia
- On 18/12/2019
It is not unusual nowadays to deposit in a safe box important documents and/or valuable items; it is quite common to hire one at the bank where one also holds an account. In fact, however, having a safe at home may be more convenient because one can access one’s belongings at any time and not only during the bank’s business hours. Nevertheless, valuable possessions will be safer if kept at the bank, since all banks will allow access to the safe only to those people acknowledged to have the right to do so.
In the event the holder of the safe box passes away, there are a few mandatory steps, required by Italian law, that will need to be undertaken by the legitimate heir/s so as to access the safe.
First of all, it will be necessary for the heir/s to prove to the bank that they are entitled to access the safe and withdraw the contents. This can be done either by filing with the bank an affidavit aka “dichiarazione sostitutiva di atto notorio”, which will list the relationship with the deceased and the heir status of the applicant/s, but more often Italian banks require the heirs to provide proof that the succession paperwork has been filed with the competent tax office, aka “Agenzia delle Entrate”, and the amount due to the State regularly paid.
Once the heirs have proved to the bank their status and their entitlement to access the safe, they will have to appoint a Notary Public, who will also have to be present during the opening procedure. The Notary will be in charge of sending the formal communication to the above-mentioned tax office, giving at least 15 days notice. On the day, the parties, the Notary and a bank representative will be present to undertake the safe box opening. It must be highlighted that in the event one suspects items of gold or other precious items might be present, it is essential also to appoint an appraiser who will provide the Notary with a good estimate of the true value of the items. The Notary will draft a detailed report which will include the exact list of the items kept in the box as well as the value of those items. It is best to ensure that the Notary and appraiser fees are discussed at the time of their respective appointment.
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