What to do about a lawsuit settlement received after a person dies?

My mother passed in 2005. We just received a check in her name for money owed to her through a medical litigation. Are we entitled to keep it?

Asked on December 28, 2010 under Estate Planning, Arkansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well, yes, you may beentitled to keep the proceeds but they must go through probate.  Did you have a probate proceeding for your Mother?  In other words did you file a proceeding and was there a Personal Representative appointed for her estate?  You would then have to re-open the estate in order to process the check through it.  If your Mother had a Last Will and Testament then these proceeds would most likely be covered by the residuary clause: "the rest, residue and remainder of the estate is distributed as follows:" or something along those lines.  The check may also have to be re-issued to The Estate of your Mother.  Seek help with all of this.  Good luck.

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