The Inheritance and Estate Tax Act — Part XII

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 (Article XXI of the Tax Reform Code of 1971, Act of March 4, 1971, P.L. 6, No. 2, added by Act of Aug. 4, 1991, P.L. 97, No. 22, as amended.)

— ENTRY INTO SAFE DEPOSIT BOX —

Section 2191. Entry Prohibited.

___Unless provided otherwise in this part, no person having actual knowledge of the death of a decedent shall enter a safe deposit box of the decedent. This part shall not be construed to confer upon any person any right of entry into a safe deposit box of a decedent which he does not otherwise have.

Section 2192. Entry Without Notice to Department.

___(a) A safe deposit box of a decedent may be entered and any or all of the contents removed in the presence of an employee of the financial institution in which the box is located. The employee shall make, or cause to be made, a record of the contents of the box, which record he shall attest under penalty of perjury to be correct and complete. The financial institution may make a reasonable charge for the attendance of its employee at the entry of the box and the listing of the contents, which charge shall be deductible as an administration expense under subclause (1) of section 2127.

___(b) A safe deposit box of a decedent may be entered and any or all of the contents removed in the presence of a representative of the department authorized by the Secretary. The department shall authorize at least one such representative in and for each county of this Commonwealth. The representative present at the time of entry into the box shall make or cause to be made a record of the contents of the box.

___(c) The court for cause shown may order that a designated person or persons be permitted to enter a safe deposit box of a decedent and remove the contents described in the order, under supervision as the court may direct. The order may also require that a record be made of the contents of the box.

___(d) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this part, the department, at any time and without relation to the death of a specific decedent, by a certificate issued to a firm whose business requires ready access to safe deposit boxes, may issue a general authorization for the entry into, and removal of the contents of, a safe deposit box of a decedent, under terms and conditions as it may prescribe. A financial institution may permit such entry and removal upon presentation to it of such certificates issued by the department.

___(e) Nothing in this part shall prohibit a financial institution from permitting entry into a safe deposit box of a decedent for the sole purpose of removing the decedent’s will and evidence of ownership of the burial lot in which the decedent is to be interred. An employee of the financial institution must be present at the opening of the box and make or cause to be made a record of the documents removed from the safe deposit box during the entry and attest the record to be correct and complete under penalty of perjury.

Section 2193. Entry Upon Notice to Department.

___(a) When entry into a safe deposit box of a decedent is not or cannot be made under the provisions of subsection (a), (b), (c) or (d) of section 2192, a safe deposit box of a decedent may be entered at the time fixed in a notice mailed to the Department of Revenue, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and to the financial institution in which the box is located, in the manner specified in this section. The date fixed for entry and contained in the notice shall not be less than seven days after the date of notice is mailed. A representative of the department may be present at the time fixed for entry and may make or cause to be made a record of the contents of the box.

___(b) The notice required under subsection (a) shall be delivered to the United States Postal Service for mailing in a manner that will provide for a record of the mailing being made by the United States Postal Service and a receipt being furnished to the sender. An exact copy of the notice shall be transmitted to the financial institution in which the box is located.

___(c) At the time fixed in the notice required by subsection (a), although no representative of the department is present, it shall be lawful for a financial institution in which a safe deposit box of a decedent is located to permit, and it shall permit, entry into the box and removal of its contents by a person who furnishes a signed statement under penalty of perjury that he or someone in his behalf has given such notice.

Section 2194. Subsequent Entries.

___Nothing in this part shall be construed to impose any restriction upon reentry into a safe deposit box of a decedent at any time subsequent to an entry made in accordance with any of the provisions of this part other than subsection (e) of section 2192.

Section 2195. Confidential Nature of Contents.

___Any information gained from the contents of a safe deposit box of a decedent by a person whose attendance at the entry into the box was required by this part shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed for other than official purposes to collect the taxes imposed by this article.

Section 2196. Penalties.

___(a) Any employee of a financial institution in which the safe deposit box of a decedent is located who, having actual knowledge of the death of the decedent, enters or permits the entry by any person into a safe deposit box of the decedent in violation of the provisions of this part commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

___(b) Any person, other than an employee of a financial institution in which the safe deposit box of a decedent is located, who, having actual knowledge of the death of a decedent, enters a safe deposit box of the decedent in violation of the provisions of this part commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.

___(c) Any person who violates the provisions of section 2195 commits a misdemeanor of the third degree.


Evans Law Office
Daniel B. Evans, Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 27370
Philadelphia, PA 19118
Telephone: (866) 348-4250
Email: resources@evans-legal.com

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