(1)(a) Whenever a decedent at the time of his or her death was a sole or joint lessee of a safe deposit box, the custodian shall, prior to notice that a personal representative or special administrator has been appointed, allow access to the box by:
(I) If the decedent was the sole lessee of the box, a person claiming to be a successor of the decedent, or acting on behalf of a successor of the decedent, upon presentation of an affidavit made pursuant to section 15-12-1201 for the purpose of delivering the contents of the box in accordance with said section; or
(II) If the decedent was the sole lessee or a joint lessee of the box, a person who is reasonably believed to be an heir at law or devisee of the decedent, a person nominated as a personal representative pursuant to the provisions of section 15-12-203(1)(a) , or the agent or attorney of any such person for the purpose of determining whether the box contains an instrument that appears to be a will of the decedent, deed to a burial plot, or burial instructions.
(b)(I) If a person described in subparagraph (I) or (II) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) desires access to a safe deposit box but does not possess a key to the box, the custodian shall drill the safe deposit box at the person's expense.
(II) In the case of a person described in subparagraph (I) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), the custodian shall deliver the contents of the box, other than a purported will, deed to a burial plot, and burial instructions, to the person in accordance with section 15-12-1201 . In order to protect a custodian in carrying out his or her duty under the foregoing sentence to examine such contents solely for the purpose of identifying and withholding specified documents and making delivery of such contents other than the specified documents to such person, a custodian is not deemed to have acquired knowledge, either actual or constructive, pertaining to the value of any of the contents of the box delivered to the person as a consequence of the examination and delivery.
(III) In the case of a person described in subparagraph (II) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), the custodian shall retain, in a secure location at the person's expense, the contents of the box other than a purported will, deed to a burial plot, and burial instructions.
(IV) A custodian shall deliver a purported will as described in subsection (2) of this section.
(V) If the safe deposit box contains a deed to a burial plot or burial instructions that are not a part of a purported will, the person or persons authorized to have access to the safe deposit box under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section may remove these instruments, and the custodian shall not prevent the removal.
(VI) Expenses incurred by a custodian pursuant to this section shall be considered an estate administration expense.
(c) A representative of the custodian shall be present during the entry of a safe deposit box pursuant to this section.
(1.5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Custodian” means a bank, savings and loan association, credit union, or other institution acting as a lessor of a safe deposit box, as defined in section 11-46-101, C.R.S ., or section 11-101-401, C.R.S .
(b) “Representative of a custodian” means an authorized officer or employee of a custodian.
(2)(a) If an instrument purporting to be a will is found in a safe deposit box as the result of an entry pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, the purported will shall be removed by the representative of the custodian.
(b) At the request of the person or persons authorized to have access to the safe deposit box under the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, the representative of the custodian shall copy each purported will of the decedent, at the expense of the requesting person, and shall deliver the copy of each purported will to the person, or if directed by the person, to the person's agent or attorney. In copying any purported will, the representative of the custodian shall not remove any staples or other fastening devices or disassemble the purported will in any way.
(c) The custodian shall mail the purported will by registered or certified mail or deliver the purported will in person to the clerk of the district or probate court of the county in which the decedent was a resident. If the custodian is unable to determine the county of residence of the decedent, the custodian shall mail the purported will by registered or certified mail or deliver the purported will in person to the office of the clerk of the proper court of the county in which the safe deposit box is located.
(d) Repealed by Laws 2015, Ch. 32, § 1, eff. Aug. 5, 2015.
(3) After the appointment of a personal representative or special administrator for the decedent, the personal representative or special administrator shall be permitted to enter the safe deposit box upon the same terms and conditions as the decedent was permitted to enter during his or her lifetime.
(4) Nothing in this section affects the right of surviving joint lessees to enter a safe deposit box after the death of a decedent.
(5) A custodian shall not be liable to a person for an action taken pursuant to this section or for a failure to act in accordance with the requirements of this section unless the action or failure to act is shown to have resulted from the custodian's bad faith, gross negligence, or intentional misconduct.
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