Movie Case Study
The above scene shows Vikrant’s death. Guru Gulab Khatri (played by Akshay Kumar) decides to withdraw diamonds from the bank of New York which was in Vikrant’s locker. In this blog, Learning Perspectives will understand the procedure for claiming bank locker belongings in case of death.
How can one settle bank claims in case of death?
Generally, people deposit their life savings in a savings bank account. They keep their valuable belongings in a bank locker and investments in different instruments such as fixed deposits, PPF, mutual funds, etc.
Sometimes the account holder dies and the claims are to be recovered by their legal heirs. These accounts are also referred to as deceased accounts. The bank would freeze the account when they would become aware of the death of the account owner. Banks conduct KYC (know your customer) and transfer the funds to the legal heirs. KYC would include the death certificate of the account holder, ID proofs, and account details.
If you have a bank account, you also receive a locker facility from the bank. Lockers can store many items. These could be property papers, jewellery, gold biscuits, diamonds, etc. Anything that is valuable to you can be kept here. These lockers are hired by an individual or a business. There is a nomination facility available when you hire a locker. When two or more people hire the locker, then the locker is said to be hired jointly.
Locker Claims in case of death
In the case of the single-hired locker and a nominee is present, then claims can be settled through the nominee. The nominee will access the contents of the locker after the verification of KYC done by the bank. Bank would check for the death certificate, similar to the scene that you saw and the bank would also prepare an inventory of items in the locker. This would be done in the presence of the nominee and two independent witnesses.
In case there is no nomination, then the legal heir or the surviving heir of the deceased would be allowed to access the locker. Before accessing the locker, the bank would conduct the KYC verification. This will include vetting the death certificate of the original locker hirer. Before permitting the legal hirer, the bank would prepare an inventory list in front of the legal heir and two independent witnesses.
Sometimes the valuables in the lockers are not of great importance or price. Since obtaining legal representation is a costly affair. In that scenario, the branch may decide to allow the legal heirs to operate the locker. However, they may need to submit an Affidavit cum indemnity.