Estate questions

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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goblue100
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Estate questions

Post by goblue100 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:11 pm

My 80 year old mother in law passed recently. Her husband is essentially the sole recipient of their joint assets. They had pre-planned her funeral, and the insurance company issue a small rebate (less than $300) check made out to the estate of mother in laws name. They have no debts.
Do we need to open a bank account as the estate of mother in laws name? My father in law took the check and tried to deposit into their joint account, but they wouldn't let him. It's not clear to me what their advice to him was, but he said they told him to send the check back and get a new one issued, which doesn't seem right to me.

Do we need to do anything to open and close her estate? I think all of the property is either in joint name or in my father in laws name. Thanks in advance for any guidance.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

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JoeRetire
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Re: Estate questions

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:16 pm

Sorry for your loss.

If all of her assets were in both their names, then there is nothing you should do (other than eventually get her name off of the accounts).
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.

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goblue100
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Re: Estate questions

Post by goblue100 » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:26 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:16 pm
Sorry for your loss.

If all of her assets were in both their names, then there is nothing you should do (other than eventually get her name off of the accounts).
Thanks. Your answer is in line with what I was thinking, but there is the matter of this one check. Should we be able to deposit checks made out to "The estate of <Mother in law>"? The bank said no, but I wasn't there, and my father in law might not have known exactely what he wanted them to do. They told him to send the check back, which seems wrong to me.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

Archimedes
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Re: Estate questions

Post by Archimedes » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:55 pm

The check is for a small amount. In your shoes, I would get out a cell phone and do a virtual electronic deposit to the joint account. It is highly unlikely that the bank would disallow the deposit.

senex
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Re: Estate questions

Post by senex » Fri Apr 17, 2020 4:05 pm

goblue100 wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:26 pm
Should we be able to deposit checks made out to "The estate of <Mother in law>"? The bank said no, but I wasn't there, and my father in law might not have known exactely what he wanted them to do. They told him to send the check back, which seems wrong to me.
If check was made out to her name, they will probably accept it. I've heard you should not endorse it (which would be forging a signature) -- just deposit it unsigned. For small checks, I've seen it work and haven't seen it fail.

For a check made out to "estate of xyz", that's more complicated. The bank is probably right. If it were me, I'd try to get the check reissued to a person's name (not "estate of ..."). If that fails, it depends what your time is worth, i.e. how many hoops you want to jump through for $300. If it's worth your time, you could try researching your state's small estate probate procedures. Sometimes you can do small stuff with just an affidavit, no court filings whatsoever. Varies by state.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Estate questions

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:49 pm

goblue100 wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:26 pm
JoeRetire wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:16 pm
Sorry for your loss.

If all of her assets were in both their names, then there is nothing you should do (other than eventually get her name off of the accounts).
Thanks. Your answer is in line with what I was thinking, but there is the matter of this one check. Should we be able to deposit checks made out to "The estate of <Mother in law>"? The bank said no, but I wasn't there, and my father in law might not have known exactely what he wanted them to do. They told him to send the check back, which seems wrong to me.
If it were me, I'd go back to the bank with dad, and talk to the bank myself.
If they said No again, I'd ask them what I have to do in order to get it deposited. Then I'd do that.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.

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CAsage
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Re: Estate questions

Post by CAsage » Fri Apr 17, 2020 10:15 pm

On a completely unrelated matter, I've deposited checks made out to minor children by signing my name and indicating "for Junior Sage". Also, ATM machines and phone deposits are amazing new inventions, again unrelated comment.
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chemocean
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Re: Estate questions

Post by chemocean » Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:46 am

Are you saying that the rebate check was from the insurance company for the pre-paid funeral?
Or, was the rebate check for other assets. The beneficiaries of many life insurance companies received stocks in their name only when the mutual funds went public.
If the rebate check was for such a company, the assets and rebate checks are in the name of your MIL and are part of her estate. Which also means, the assets from which the assets came are also part of the estate if they are in her name only and she did not fill out a beneficiary designation
If your FIL has been appointed the personal representative, could he just cash the check as a the personal representative?

Carefreeap
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Re: Estate questions

Post by Carefreeap » Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:49 pm

Archimedes wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:55 pm
The check is for a small amount. In your shoes, I would get out a cell phone and do a virtual electronic deposit to the joint account. It is highly unlikely that the bank would disallow the deposit.
That's what I did when a check arrived from my deceased mother's mortgage company. It was part of a settlement the bank had to make for their lousy handling of mortgage modifications. No way did I trust the mortgage bank to handle a return check correctly and it was only $300. I had closed the Trust account a year and a half earlier.

No problems with the electronic deposit.
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Topic Author
goblue100
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Re: Estate questions

Post by goblue100 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:42 am

chemocean wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 12:46 am
Are you saying that the rebate check was from the insurance company for the pre-paid funeral?
It was a rebate for a small amount of the prepaid funeral from the funeral insurance company. Apparently it cost less than what the contract allowed.
I am going to do what Joe Retire suggests, go back to the bank with father in law and a death certificate. There has to be a way to deposit this check, I think he just got a bum teller. It's just hard in these coronavirus times to do anything face to face. We need to take mother in law off accounts anyway.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

afan
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Re: Estate questions

Post by afan » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:05 am

For the one estate I settled, we got several checks made out to the estate. They appeared over time, some long after the death.

We opened an estate account and deposited them there. When everything was settled we closed the account, transferring the money to the beneficiaries.

Since they had a joint account at the bank that your father apparently still uses, you could just open another account there.

All of the above assumes your father has been appointed personal representative.
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J295
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Re: Estate questions

Post by J295 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:33 pm

Do a Google search of small estate affidavit for your particular state

phxjcc
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Re: Estate questions

Post by phxjcc » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:38 pm

Apply for an EIN for the estate via IRS website.

Once you have an EIN, take the letter and the check to the bank.

Open account for estate with these funds.

Move funds to other account as desired.

Close account.

Optional: point out to overly officious "banker" what a PITA they were as you take your money elsewhere.

Gill
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Re: Estate questions

Post by Gill » Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:46 pm

phxjcc wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 8:38 pm
Apply for an EIN for the estate via IRS website.

Once you have an EIN, take the letter and the check to the bank.

Open account for estate with these funds.

Move funds to other account as desired.

Close account.

Optional: point out to overly officious "banker" what a PITA they were as you take your money elsewhere.
You need a personal representative to open an estate account. I’d try running through an ATM or mobile deposit.
Gill
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Katietsu
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Re: Estate questions

Post by Katietsu » Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:04 pm

Easiest thing to try is the mobile deposit. The teller is actually right to refuse to cash it. I think coming in with a second person and a death certificate is unlikely to help since you need someone to overlook the payee to get this thing cashed. Doing those things is going to make it impossible for the employee to pretend not to notice.

If that does not work, the bank teller’s advice might. Your father in law very well be able to go back to the company that issued the check and they might issue a new one in his name. I have helped more than one person get this done so it is not a bad idea at all.

I doubt any jurisdiction makes it cheap and easy enough to be appointed the personal representative of an estate to make it worth doing for $300.

2tall4economy
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Re: Estate questions

Post by 2tall4economy » Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:40 am

having done this myself (estate management) I had to create a bank account for the estate and deposit all checks into it.

This is because you need clean records in case the it’s comes knocking.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.

pshonore
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Re: Estate questions

Post by pshonore » Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:46 am

If you ignore the check, in a few years it should wind up in your State's unclaimed assets fund. Claim the funds at that time if you wish. Might be less work than setting up an estate account, etc.

Topic Author
goblue100
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Re: Estate questions

Post by goblue100 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:03 am

Katietsu wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:04 pm

If that does not work, the bank teller’s advice might. Your father in law very well be able to go back to the company that issued the check and they might issue a new one in his name. I have helped more than one person get this done so it is not a bad idea at all.

I doubt any jurisdiction makes it cheap and easy enough to be appointed the personal representative of an estate to make it worth doing for $300.
Just to put a bow on this, we went back in and talked to the teller. She clarified that her instructions were actually to either)
A. Get the check reissued in my FIL's name by calling the issuer.
B. Open an account in the estates name and deposit it in there. They would open an estate account for free.

As I don't think we will get any other checks in the name of the estate, I didn't want to open the account. I was able to call the issuer and they agreed to reissue the check after I fill out a beneficiary claim form and mail it and the check back to them. So that is the path. Thanks to all who responded.
Financial planners are savers. They want us to be 95 percent confident we can finance a 30-year retirement even though there is an 82 percent probability of being dead by then. - Scott Burns

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