German bank deposit safe

German bank deposit safe

How do I get to the content of a German bank deposit safe as an heir of the safe lessee?

Very often people leave their valuables, securities, stocks etc. in a bank deposit safe with a German bank in order to keep them in a secure place – at safety from burglars for example.

First task is to know, whether the deceased disposed of a bank safe. Maybe you found papers, the lease contract or anything like this among the papers the testator left behind? Or you found some keys that you do not know where they belong to?

Once we know where the bank deposit safe is the bank needs to be persuaded to give you  to it. For that obviously we need some legitimizing paper. The last will made by a public notary or the certificate of inheritance will do. 

But maybe you do not have the time and/or your knowledge of German is not sufficient to fight your way through the bank´s bureaucracy?

Easiest way could be to ask a German lawyer to do the job for you. S/he will know what papers to fill in, how to make the appointment with whom and will take care of a sufficient legitimization from you. 

When entrusted with such assignment, we usually make sure the bank will provide a witness present while we open the safe and together with us prepare a precise summary or minutes of the content of the safe.

This way you can be sure, everything in the safe will get into your possession.

And the lawyer will also know what to do, if the content of the safe provides a surprise. Maybe something is found of considerable value, maybe even black money – then the tax-office needs to be informed. Because the content of the safe might have consequences for the inheritance tax to pay. Making mistakes here and omitting to fulfill your reporting obligation could result in a criminal proceeding for tax-evasion or fraud. 

If you have any further queries, you can contact us here

Dr. Donat Ebert

Ügyvéd - Rechtsanwalt (HU, D)

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