Bank customers must make sure to register for the nomination facility and survivorship clause when opening a locker at a bank.
The main benefit of making a nomination is that if one of the joint locker-hirers dies, the right to the contents of the locker does not automatically pass to the surviving joint locker-hirer, nominee (s), unless a survivorship clause, nomination is in place.
According to the SBI website:
Nomination: If the only locker hirer has nominated a person, the bank usually gives that person access to the locker and the ability to remove the contents of the locker in the case of the sole locker hirer’s death.
Locker hired jointly: If the locker was hired jointly with the instructions to operate it under joint signatures and the locker hirers nominate one or more person as nominee, the bank normally gives access to the locker and the liberty to remove the contents jointly to the survivorand the nominee in the event of death of any of the locker hirers.
Locker hired jointly with survivorship: If the locker was hired jointly with a survivorship clause and the hirers instructed that access to the locker be given to ‘either or survivor,’ ‘anyone or survivor,’ ‘former or survivor,’ or any other survivorship clause, the Bank usually follows the mandate in the event of one or more of the locker hirers’ death.
The bank does not need the survivor(s)/nominee(s) of the deceased locker hirer to produce a succession certificate, letter of administration or probate, or to acquire any bond of indemnity or surety from the survivor(s)/nominees when granting access to the survivor(s)/nominees (s).
How it works
The bank usually prepares an inventory before handing the contents from locker. The inventory will be prepared in the presence of two branch officers and two independent witnesses on the relevant forms (Specimen copy of the form is appended below as Annexure).
If the nominee/ survivor/ legal heir desires to keep the locker, the bank may enter into a new contract and must comply with KYC criteria. While releasing the sealed/closed packets found in the locker to the nominee and surviving locker hirer, the bank is not compelled to open them.
To make it easier to identify Safe Deposit Lockers using their keys, banks usually emboss an identifying code on all locker keys that may be used to identify the bank and the branch that provides the locker.
Even if the rent is paid on time, if a locker is left unattended for more than a year, the branch has the right to terminate the locker’s allotment and open the locker.
In circumstances other than Nomination or Joint Account with Survivor Clause, instructions for filling out the Application form for payment of account balances, objects in safe deposit lockers, and safe custody.
Choose whether the claim will be lodged without legal representation (individual died intestate) or with legal representation (i.e. Will/ Succession certificate/ Letter of administration). A copy of the same is required to be enclosed. Except for KYC/proper identification of beneficiaries, no declaration from an independent person is required in the case of legal representation.
According to SBI website, “Detail of the deceased to be provided. Submit copy of Death certificate and Original for verification. The assets of deceased shall be settled to the legal heirs as per the Personal Law of succession (Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other community) applicable to the depositor. (g) Mention particulars of all legal heirs along with age and address. In the last column, mention ‘Yes’ for heirs who are executing Letter of Disclaimer (As per Annexure-A) duly stamped and executed. Otherwise, mention ‘No’. (h) Mention name of legal heirs, who are minors along with Natural/ Legal Guardian. If Legal Guardian is appointed, a copy of the order must be enclosed.”
“The detailed information on the sureties, to arrive at their worth, is to be furnished in a separate form (Annexure-D). Sureties, who are the relatives of the deceased, may be accepted, provided they are not directly involved as claimants and are considered individually or jointly good for the amount involved. If one surety is considered good for the amount by the Bank, second surety is not necessary. The sureties have to sign the Letter of Indemnity along with Claimants as per format enclosed (Annexure – C). The Letter of Indemnity will be stamped according to the Stamp Act in force in the respective State”
Safe Deposit Locker
The legal representative of the dead may be granted access. Death certificates and proof of legal representation must be obtained in such circumstances. Probate or Letters of Administration would be used as legal representation.
For Safe Deposit Locker/Safe custody
Form of Inventory of Contents of Safety Locker (Annexure-E) Form of Inventory of articles left in safe custody (Annexure-F) Letter of indemnity with respect to delivery of articles kept in Safe Deposit Locker/Safe Custody/Sealed Boxes (Annexure-G).