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Can A Notary Witness A Safe Deposit Box Opening?

New Hotline Resized 3I've been asked to witness a bank safe deposit opening. What forms are needed or required? Do I take ID’s? Who inventories the contents?N.C., New York

Witnessing the opening of a safe deposit box is a notarial act performed almost exclusively by Notaries employed by banks and other financial institutions, but any Notary may do it.

The bank may open and inventory the contents of a safe deposit box in the presence of a Notary Public if the rental fee on the safe deposit box has not been paid and at least 30 days have transpired since the bank gave proper notice to the lessee and received no response. So, to answer your question, the bank opens and inventories the contents, but the Notary is present and creates and signs a certificate stating the lessee’s name, the date the box was opened, and lists the items removed from the box and any other relevant facts (Banking Law Section 335). New York law does not provide specific wording for the certificate. The law doesn’t require you to identify the officers of the bank who are present when the safe deposit box is opened and inventoried.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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Mary Maarouf

16 Jul 2018

Great article.

Cindy l herring

23 May 2022

In California for the witness of a safe deposit box opening do you ID the bank officer and write the ID and your journal or do they just sign your journal

National Notary Association

26 May 2022

Hello. California Notaries are not authorized to witness the opening of safe deposit boxes as part of their official notarial duties.


22 Aug 2022

Does Pennsylvania require an outside Notary to verify the closing of a safety deposit boxes?

National Notary Association

25 Aug 2022

Hello. PA Notaries are not authorized to verify the closing of safe deposit boxes as part of their official duties.

Nayshunda O. Burke

05 Dec 2022

Can notaries in GA perform this service as a notarial act? Can notaries in GA be a witness to the transaction and then notarize the document?

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2023

Witnessing a safe deposit opening is not an authorized Notarial act in Georgia. As such, no part of the witnessing process can be performed by a Notary Public.

Suzanne Feinberg

22 Dec 2022

What about Arizona? Can a notary witness and issue an affidavit regarding the contents of the Safety deposit box? Are there laws about Safety Deposit Boxes in Arizona for witnessing the contents? Thank you

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2023

Hello. Witnessing the opening of a safe deposit box is not an authorized notarial act in Arizona.

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