cashing a check for someone who died

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cashing a check for someone who died

My friend’s father got a distribution check from his 401k. The father was very ill and died before he could cash the check. The father had no other money. He had no will. The father was divorced and has a son. Can the son endorse the check and deposit into his bank account?

Asked on November 22, 2016 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, the son may not do this: doing so would be a felony, since he would be cashing a check made out to another. What he can do is get a letter from the court (often, but not always, called a "letter testamentary") appointing him the personal representative or administrator (basically the executor, except that a true executor is appointed by a will) of his father's estate; then open an estate bank account; deposit the check in the estate account; then later distribute it to himself as part of the process of probating or distributing the estate. He can contact the probate or surrogate's court to get more information about the process in his state.


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