Check Received: What to do?

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Cruise
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Check Received: What to do?

Post by Cruise » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:59 pm

For reasons unknown, the cable company sent a check to my long-departed mother-in-law, which was received by my wife. The check is for a very small amount, perhaps enough to cover a lunch for two at an upscale diner.

My wife was the executor of the estate, which has long since been dissolved. What would you do in this situation?

We have considered:

A. Throw the check away.
B. Forge MIL's signature and cash it in wife's bank account. (She would ultimately send the proceeds to MIL's church).

What we won't consider: Communicating the the cable company.

Any other alternatives that won't take much time and effort? Thanks for insights!

Gill
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Gill » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:06 pm

Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.
Gill

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lthenderson
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 pm

If it were me, I would do what you don't want to do, contact the cable company for the reason and have them issue a check in your wife's name if appropriate.

bloom2708
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 pm

No forging please. :wink: Legal Eagles we are.

As the Executor of the estate, does that not give your wife check signing privileges?

If not cashing as part of the estate, I would probably just tear it up and move on. There are probably other options in between.
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

Gill
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Gill » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:15 pm

lthenderson wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 pm
If it were me, I would do what you don't want to do, contact the cable company for the reason and have them issue a check in your wife's name if appropriate.
They are not going to be willing to do that.
Gill

Spirit Rider
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Spirit Rider » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:59 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 pm
As the Executor of the estate, does that not give your wife check signing privileges?
Technically, only as long as the estate remains open. It is possible to reopen the estate, but the cost would be more than the value of this check.

She probably has the following options:
  • Your wife should go to your bank and ask to speak with a manager. explain the situation and bring a copy of her appointment as executor. The bank may cash the check based on this. I successfully did this a couple times after the closer of the estate.
  • Contact the cable company with the same information. Ask them to cut a new check to her.
  • If the cable company will not do the above, they should eventually escheat the amount to the state. After the state receives it, she should be able to claim it.

Gill
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Gill » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:04 pm

Spirit Rider wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:59 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:07 pm
As the Executor of the estate, does that not give your wife check signing privileges?
Technically, only as long as the estate remains open. It is possible to reopen the estate, but the cost would be more than the value of this check.

She probably has the following options:
  • Your wife should go to your bank and ask to speak with a manager. explain the situation and bring a copy of her appointment as executor. The bank may cash the check based on this. I successfully did this a couple times after the closer of the estate.
  • Contact the cable company with the same information. Ask them to cut a new check to her.
  • If the cable company will not do the above, they should eventually escheat the amount to the state. After the state receives it, she should be able to claim it.
How about my suggestion above? I spent my career as a bank officer and know this to be a common transaction. All the other ideas are overkill.
Gill

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Mlm
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Mlm » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:08 pm

Oh good grief. Just do as Gill suggested. Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.

The same thing happened to me. $2.03 from the cell phone provider.

I don't think I'm going to federal prison over it. ;-)

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by DaftInvestor » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Cruise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:59 pm

What we won't consider: Communicating the the cable company.
Why? This seems the logical thing to do for me especially if you don't know what the check is for.
Otherwise - if you don't feel it worth the time communicating with the cable company I would just throw the check away since you don't feel you can legally endorse it.

bob60014
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by bob60014 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:15 pm

A few months ago did as Gil suggested with a cable co. check, for overpayment, sent to my late MIL, no issues. Barney Fife isn't hunting us down.

bnes
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by bnes » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:16 pm

In a similar situation I endorsed with "My Name on behalf of Name on Check".
I told no lies.
The check cleared.
Nobody ever complained.

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BolderBoy
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by BolderBoy » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:19 pm

Gill wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:06 pm
Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.
Gill
Agreed, do this. Write "Deceased" under your mother's name, then sign your own name with "Daughter" and deposit it into the account. I've done this with lots of checks without problems.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

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fishandgolf
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by fishandgolf » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:24 pm

Cruise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:59 pm
For reasons unknown, the cable company sent a check to my long-departed mother-in-law, which was received by my wife. The check is for a very small amount, perhaps enough to cover a lunch for two at an upscale diner.

My wife was the executor of the estate, which has long since been dissolved. What would you do in this situation?

We have considered:

A. Throw the check away.
B. Forge MIL's signature and cash it in wife's bank account. (She would ultimately send the proceeds to MIL's church).

What we won't consider: Communicating the the cable company.

Any other alternatives that won't take much time and effort? Thanks for insights!


Almost identical situation happened to me. I was also executor of my mom's business. We had been working with an attorney to close out all ends of the business. I received a check for a small amount <$100.00......contacted the attorney and he instructed me to return the check to the originaor with a letter informing them that my mother is deceased and they should return the funds to their account.........that was 8 months ago. I would not mess with this stuff........not worth it....no matter what the value. Simple Simon...............

Gill
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Gill » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:29 pm

fishandgolf wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:24 pm
Cruise wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:59 pm
For reasons unknown, the cable company sent a check to my long-departed mother-in-law, which was received by my wife. The check is for a very small amount, perhaps enough to cover a lunch for two at an upscale diner.

My wife was the executor of the estate, which has long since been dissolved. What would you do in this situation?

We have considered:

A. Throw the check away.
B. Forge MIL's signature and cash it in wife's bank account. (She would ultimately send the proceeds to MIL's church).

What we won't consider: Communicating the the cable company.

Any other alternatives that won't take much time and effort? Thanks for insights!


Almost identical situation happened to me. I was also executor of my mom's business. We had been working with an attorney to close out all ends of the business. I received a check for a small amount <$100.00......contacted the attorney and he instructed me to return the check to the originaor with a letter informing them that my mother is deceased and they should return the funds to their account.........that was 8 months ago. I would not mess with this stuff........not worth it....no matter what the value. Simple Simon...............
Not the best advice from your attorney.
Gill

Carefreeap
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:50 pm

I ran into this situation last month. Got a check from the mortgage company made out to Estate of Carefree's Mom. She died nine years ago and I closed out the Trust and the Trust accounts in 2010 however I kept her condo retitled it into my Trust and kept paying on the mortgage. Sold the condo in July. I was both Trustee and a beneficiary of my mother's Trust.

Check was for about $50. I endorsed the check as Carefree TTEE and deposited with my phone app in a BofA savings acct.

No problems.

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Pajamas
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Pajamas » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:54 pm

I would probably just sign both names and put deceased in parentheses after your mother-in-law's name or else just deposit the check without signing it all except for the account number and "for deposit only".

I would also check online with the comptroller or other department that handles unclaimed funds in the state she lived in to see if there are other funds due.

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8foot7
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:56 pm

Just deposit the check via mobile app or ATM. Move on with life.

123
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by 123 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:13 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:56 pm
Just deposit the check via mobile app or ATM. Move on with life.
+1 Whatever you do don't present it to a bank teller for deposit. A oddball casual question or response can lead to more problems then its worth. Though the expertise of tellers varies widely they seem to be alert to problem check situations, not necessarily the solutions discussed here.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Cruise
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Cruise » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:22 pm

Many thanks for the thoughtful replies. Given the responses, my wife has opted to mobile deposit with the appropriate signatures...

not4me
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by not4me » Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:09 pm

Gill wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:06 pm
Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.
Gill
Gill, I'm good with this being the best/right way to handle, but am hoping you can elaborate on some of the parameters. I (likely) could have used this in the past, but wasn't aware. Since the estate "has long since been dissolved", is the fact that the daughter was executor a factor? That is, could the daughter have used this approach IF she had NOT formerly been the executor? Could someone else who was neither the executor or a family member have done the same? Am hoping I can better understand the limits of this. Thanks for your continued sharing of expertise

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munemaker
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by munemaker » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:22 pm

I would have your wife endorse it with EX after her name. Deposit it and forget about it. The effect on the estate is so tiny, no one is going to care.

Gill
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by Gill » Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:31 pm

not4me wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:09 pm
Gill wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:06 pm
Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.
Gill
Gill, I'm good with this being the best/right way to handle, but am hoping you can elaborate on some of the parameters. I (likely) could have used this in the past, but wasn't aware. Since the estate "has long since been dissolved", is the fact that the daughter was executor a factor? That is, could the daughter have used this approach IF she had NOT formerly been the executor? Could someone else who was neither the executor or a family member have done the same? Am hoping I can better understand the limits of this. Thanks for your continued sharing of expertise
Obviously, this is only appropriate when the person receiving payment is the proper party in interest. A person endorsing a check is guaranteeing any prior endorsements and so the depository bank, knowing the last endorser as its customer, is not concerned with the prior endorsements. It's not much different from the frequently used endorsement stamp which reads, "Absence of prior endorsements guaranteed". As a practical matter, once the check is endorsed by an appropriate party no one cares about prior endorsements.
Gill

not4me
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Re: Check Received: What to do?

Post by not4me » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:02 pm

Gill wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 3:31 pm
not4me wrote:
Thu Sep 07, 2017 1:09 pm
Gill wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:06 pm
Endorse her name as drawn then have your wife endorse it and deposit it to her account.
Gill
Gill, I'm good with this being the best/right way to handle, but am hoping you can elaborate on some of the parameters. I (likely) could have used this in the past, but wasn't aware. Since the estate "has long since been dissolved", is the fact that the daughter was executor a factor? That is, could the daughter have used this approach IF she had NOT formerly been the executor? Could someone else who was neither the executor or a family member have done the same? Am hoping I can better understand the limits of this. Thanks for your continued sharing of expertise
Obviously, this is only appropriate when the person receiving payment is the proper party in interest. A person endorsing a check is guaranteeing any prior endorsements and so the depository bank, knowing the last endorser as its customer, is not concerned with the prior endorsements. It's not much different from the frequently used endorsement stamp which reads, "Absence of prior endorsements guaranteed". As a practical matter, once the check is endorsed by an appropriate party no one cares about prior endorsements.
Gill
The 1st case that popped into my mind involved a situation similar to OP. A year or more after the estate was settled, a check for a somewhat relatively small amount of money made its way to the executor. It wasn't enough to justify re-opening the estate, but thought too big to just shred & forget. The executor forwarded the check to the person who had received the "leftover" money in the estate after all else handled....that is the person who would have received the money if it had come in before closing the estate. Their initial attempts to get a bank to cash it were not successful; they tried the banks they'd done business with (separate banks, separate cities), talked to banking officials, etc. The checks were finally cashed, but not using this approach...thanks again

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