If you have a safe-deposit box with any financial institution in Florida or think of having one, this information may be of interest to you.
Financial institutions can open your safe-deposit box if your rent fee is due after giving you appropriate notice of such and satisfying other conditions as well. One of the requirements by law is that a notary must be present, and he or she cannot be anyone who works for the financial institution or a stockholder of the same. The law authorizing notaries to perform this function became effective on July 3, 1992, and is found in section 655.94(1), Florida Statutes.
A notary can charge up to $10. for performing the authorized duties at the opening of a safe-deposit box.
What does a notary do there?
He or she must be present along with an officer of the financial institution at the opening of the safe-deposit box to inventory the contents of the vault, and to make an appropriate certificate of the opening. An estimation of the value is not required.
Here is what notaries do when they perform this notarial act:
- The notary must be present at the time the safe-deposit box is opened and may not be a director, officer, employee, or stockholder of the financial institution. An officer of the institution must also be present with the notary at the opening of the safe-deposit box.
- When the safe-deposit box is opened, the notary should inventory the contents of the box and should complete a certificate reciting the name of the lessee, the date of the opening, and a list of the contents. Florida law does not provide a form certificate; however, the following form, prepared by the Notary Section, should be sufficient.
STATE OF FLORIDA
On the ___day of _____________, 20__, safe-deposit box number
_________ rented in the name of ________________________ was
opened by _(name of financial institution)_ in my presence
and in the presence of __(name of officer)__. The contents of the
box consisted of the following:
(List contents here.)
(SEAL) Notary Public
(PRINT, TYPE OR STAMP NAME OF NOTARY)
(PRINT OR TYPE NAME OF PERSON OPENING BOX)
(PRINT OR TYPE NAME OF OFFICER OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTION)
- Once the certificate is completed, copies should be made. The notary should place the original certificate in a package with the contents of the safedeposit box and seal the package. The notary must then write on the outside of the package the name of the lessee and the date of the opening.
- The notary should leave the sealed package and a copy of the certificate with the financial institution.
- If the notary keeps a record book or journal of notarial acts, details of the act should be recorded. It may be a good idea to require the person opening the box, the officer of the institution, and any other witness to sign the journal as well.
Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries – Certifying the Contents of a Safe-Deposit Box
If you don’t want anyone accessing the contents of your safe-deposit box, make sure you pay the fees on time!
by Alessandra Gomes
On My Way FL Notary S.A.
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