How can I cash my mother's estate check when she didn't have an estate? 15 Answers as of March 21, 2014

My mother passed away, unexpectedly, in January 2014. Her apartment complex issued a reimbursement check for the remainder of her security deposit, but it was issued to her estate, and she didn't have one. She didn't own any property, have any assets and she didn't even have a will. I am listed as her next of kin on her death certificate, as she was unmarried, and I'm her eldest child. Is there a way that I can get this check cashed, when there is no estate, and no will? If so, how?

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Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
You would have to go to the circuit court in which your mother died and open an estate in her name. However, depending on the amount of the check it may not be worth it. Because you would have to pay court costs, and then pay to publish. If these amounts equal more than the face value of the check it may not be worth it. Or you can return the check to the landlord and wait two years when you won?t need to publish the only cost that you will have to endure is the court cost.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/21/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Just endorse it the way it's written, adding, by (you) if necessary, and deposit it. Then you can make disbursements to your siblings.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/21/2014
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
Michigan has a small estate probate procedure that will allow you to cash the check..It will have to be used as follows: 1) to pay her funeral expenses (or reimburse whomever paid them) and 2) thereafter distributed evenly to all her "heirs at law" e.g. her children and the heirs of her deceased children per stirrups"
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/21/2014
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
Talk to the apartment complex, see if they'll reissue the check, to you, perhaps with your affidavit that you are the only heir.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 3/21/2014
Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
This goes to summary probate.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/20/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    The easiest way is with an Affidavit of Decedent's Successor form, PC598, which you can find, here: http://courts.mi.gov/Administration/SCAO/Forms/courtforms/estatestrusts/pc598.pdf Any interested party can sign the form. The check would need to be split by you and your siblings, from the sound of it. This procedure does not involve any probate proceedings at all.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
    Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
    Take the check to the issuing bank or to your personal bank. Complete a small estate affidavit. If there are any creditors of the estate you will have to name them. The checks to satisfy the creditors will be issued. If no creditors then the bank will divide the check among the heirs of the estate, you and your siblings. They will have to be named in the small estate affidavit.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law
    Alison Elle Aleman, Attorney & Counselor at Law | Alison Elle Aleman
    It is best to contact the apartment management, and ask them to re-issue the check to you as her survivor, and that there is no estate to probate, and therefore, no estate checking account. You may have to hire an attorney to write this letter if the management gives you trouble or does not believe you. They may believe the attorney for your family and do as requested.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    Check with your court. There is probably a way to file a small estate case.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    Look at probate code section 13100.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Attorney At Law | James G. Maguire
    It depends on the laws of the state where your mother lived. Most states have a procedure availability by which the decedent's heirs can claim property owned by the decedent without a court proceeding being necessary. Do a Google search for procedures available in your state.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    Unfortunately, without Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary, you will not be able to cash the check. Do may ask the apartment complex, if they could re-issue the check, as your mother did not and will not have an estate. However, they may request that you submit a Small Estate Affidavit. This affidavit would require that not only you but all other children of your mother be included to receive an equal share of this refund.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Yes there is. You can have an Affidavit of Small Estate drafted which tells the bank that the there is no estate and that you are entitled to the money.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    Return the check and ask for a re-issuance in your name, showing them the death cert with you as the last known heir, or try and see if it will clear an ATM deposit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/20/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    This is a complex question, if your mother has any creditors you may be liable to them up to the amount of the deposit. You should speak with a probate attorney to see if an Affidavit of Entitlement will work but you will need to have information about her bills, etc. This information is only intended to give general information in response to an inquiry. It does not establish an attorney client relationship. This response is only based upon the limited facts presented and is merely intended to assist you in determining if you should contact an attorney to provide you with legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 3/20/2014
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