Who cashes an unclaimed funds check in a deceased family members name? 17 Answers as of February 20, 2014

My grandmother opened a small life insurance account for her handicapped son years ago. He died in 2010. There was no estate, because he did not own any other bank accounts or property. There were some dividends and unclaimed funds left over from the life insurance, and my grandmother just received a check for "the estate of " (her sons name). Can she legally cash this check? She is listed as the heir, since she was his mother.

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Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
Unless she has Letters of Administration for her son's estate, she will not be able to cash that check. She should return the check with a letter indicating that no estate has been or will be opened for the deceased and request that the check be issued in her name. In addition, they may have have her submit a Small Estate Affidavit.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/20/2014
Christine Sabio Socrates Attorney at Law | Christine Socrates
Unfortunately, she will not be able to cash this check if it is made out to the "estate of". She can apply for a release of assets in the probate court or if there is no other estate, sometimes the insurance company will reissue the check if you can prove it is the only asset and she is the only heir. It sometimes can be successful, but it depends on the insurance company.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 1/28/2014
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
If the bank will not allow her to cash it file a small probate action in the county where he last lived.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 1/24/2014
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd.
Ashcraft & Ashcraft, Ltd. | Randall C. Romei
A small estates affidavit will have to be used to either reissue the check or allow your grandmother to open an estate account.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/22/2014
Kirby G. Moss PC | Kirby G. Moss
She likely cannot cash the check as it isn't made out to her. Her best course would be to do an affidavit detailing estate less than $50,000 and that she is entitled to it. Best to get legal assistance for this.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 1/22/2014
    Law Office of Pamela Braynon | Pamela Y. Braynon
    She cannot. She will have to go to the circuit court to the clerk of the court in the county where she lives and ask for info to open a small estate. The clerks have all the info needed to do this and she can proceed from there.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    It depends on the policy. Some offer a way to avoid probate by paying to the "heirs." If there was no secondary or contingent beneficiary named, then probate is generally necessary. In Michigan, if the amount is less than $21k, then a small estate proceeding is available.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    The Law Office of David L. Leon
    The Law Office of David L. Leon | David L. Leon
    Your grandmother will need permission from a court to cash the check. If there is no will, no debts, and the check is less than $50k, then you may qualify for a summary proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    If he was not married and had no children and all bills have been paid and the funds are under $20,000 she may use an affidavit of entitlement in Nevada. If any of the above assumptions are not true. She should meet with an estate attorney. Best of luck to both of you.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    Normally the executor would handle this. If Mom is named on the policy, it is hers to cash. If Mom is the only survivng heir of the deceased, she would also have a claim on it. If there are other recognized heirs, they would split it.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    David Kass | David Kass
    No. You must follow nus intestacy rules.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
    She can endorse the check as written and add her name.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    Tough one; she might be able to get the insurance company to reissue the check in her name, if she gives them an affidavit regarding heirship.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 1/22/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    She should probably be able to open a small estate/summary probate estate and get the right to cash the check. Call the local court and see if they have the forms available.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You might try to deposit through an ATM.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    James Law Group
    James Law Group | Christine James
    If it is under $150,000 she will need to do a small estate affidavit and return the check to have it reissued to her. That is the easiest way. She will need a Certified Death Certificate as well. She can try to present the death certificate and small estate affidavit to the bank to cash it, but typically they will not do it. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2014
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Who was the beneficiary of the life insurance? That is where the funds should go.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 1/20/2014
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