What are CA laws regarding self storage units and death of the renter?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What are CA laws regarding self storage units and death of the renter?

Hello, My father just recently passed away and my oldest brother has both
the key, access code, and was added as a person who has permitted access
to a self storage unit by my father before he died. My brother went to make a
payment, told them that my father passed away and now the storage
company put a overlock on the unit, said we need a death certificate and a
legal form permitting my brother to enter. Everywhere that I’m reading says
that if my brother has the key, the access code, and permitted access by the
owner, then he should be able to enter. What is correct?

Asked on January 12, 2017 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your brother was on the unit lease or service agreement, he'd still have access. However, your father's right to give access to anyone else "died" (so to speak) when he did. Once your father passes away, authority from the court, in the form of a letter or order giving your brother authority (such as be being appointed administrator or personal representative) over your father's belongins is necessary. The storage place *can't* legally and safely give your brother access without this, without opening itself up for a lawsuit (for example: suppose your father had a will leaving the contents to someone other than your brother; in that case, if they let your brother access and take things without court authority, they could be sued for giving another person's assets or belongings to him). Your brother can contact the probate or surrogate's court for intructions on how to get the necessary authority or documents.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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