Can Safe Deposit Boxes Be Traced?

Customers have to provide basic information about themselves to the bank in order to have safe deposit boxes. Banks will not extend safe deposit boxes to known criminals or money-launderers. However, once a customer has a safe deposit box, privacy is generally maintained, however, there are a few ways the deposit box may be traced:

  • The person is involved in a crime - Police have the right to request a warrant to release the contents of a safe deposit box. They must have a specific reason to search the box. They cannot blindly request access in most cases.
  • The IRS requests information - An IRS lien is the most senior type of debt a person can have. When the IRS is seeking funds from a person, they will stop at nothing in order to recover those funds. If they have information that monies are stored in a specific safe deposit box, they will likely be granted a warrant for search.
  • The person dies - A will typically states what should happen with the contents of a safe deposit box. The executor of the will has to go pick up the contents and distribute them according the instructions in the will.