Operational Procedure for Settlement of Claims of Deceased Depositors and Return of Articles in Safe Deposit Lockers/Safe Custody
Minor's Interest and Guardianship
Where the legal heir is a minor, his lawful guardian will represent his interest.
- For Hindus and Christians, minor's father is the natural guardian and after him the mother. Regarding the guardianship of a minor (Hindu) it has been decided by the Supreme Court that even mother can be a natural guardian even during the life time of father since the welfare of child is of utmost importance.
- For a minor, who is a Muslim, father, then person appointed by father's will, then father's father and then person appointed by father's father will be guardian in order.
A list of legal heirs under various personal laws is at Annexure-9
Safe Deposit Locker
Procedure in case there is no Nomination/Survivorship clause
On receipt of notice of death of a sole renter or of the last survivor of the joint renters, the locker should be sealed with the Bank's seal and a note to this effect should be made in the all respective records as well as in the Memorandum of Letting /Signature Card/Code Book. The Memorandum of Letting /Signature Card should be taken out of card index cabinet and kept carefully in a separate file.
Branches may at their discretion, on production of satisfactory evidence, permit a legal representative of the deceased to inspect the contents of the locker to enable him /her to obtain the necessary succession certificate or any other legal representation.
On registration of the succession certificate, probate of a will or letters of administration, the successor, executor or the administrator respectively shall have power to deal with the contents of the locker.
The contents of the locker, sometimes, are not of great value/ importance, hence, obtaining legal representation involves cost as well as time. The branches may, therefore, in appropriate cases, allow the heirs of the deceased renter to have access to the locker and withdraw the contents against usual indemnity, subject to the following:
- The claimants/heirs of the deceased renter should furnish necessary particulars in the claim format, which is ordinarily obtained in deposit accounts.
- A prescribed letter should be taken from all the heirs requesting the Bank to open the locker for the purpose of inventory.
- The branch should then fix up a date and time for making an inventory and accordingly an inventory may be taken in the presence of all the heirs/ their duly constituted attorney/ies, two respectable witnesses known to the branch (should not be employees or ex-employees of the Bank), the valuer, the Safe Deposit Vault Custodian and another officer. The inventory may be prepared in the prescribed inventory record form. After making an inventory, care should be taken to redeposit all the contents in the said locker and to seal the locker.
The branches should exercise powers as mentioned in Discretionary Administrative Powers, Bank’s Publication No. 154 while considering delivering the contents against usual indemnity signed by the claimant/s and one or two surety/ies considered good for the amount involved.
On approval, the claimant/s should be allowed to remove the contents from the locker after signing an indemnity and a letter of surrender together with the key.
Where an inventory is to be taken in terms of a court order, it should be done in the presence of (i) the Court's representative, (ii) the claimant/s to the contents of the locker held by the deceased renter, (iii) the valuer and (iv) two officers of the branch. The inventory should enumerate the contents of locker and it should be signed by those in whose presence the locker has been opened. The valuer's assessment of the value of each item of the inventory should be in triplicate, one copy to the Court, the second to the claimant and the third to be retained on branch record.
Click here to download formats to be filled in by claimants