if my brother and I live in my late mother’s house, how can we cash an insurance check so that we can pay a contractor to make the necessary repairs on the attached garage?

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if my brother and I live in my late mother’s house, how can we cash an insurance check so that we can pay a contractor to make the necessary repairs on the attached garage?

My mother died 7 years ago and her house has not gone through probate. Currently there is a second mortgage on the house which is in my mother’s name. We kept the house insurance in my mother’s name and the monthly payments are current.Just recently, the second floor in the attached garage collapsed and the insurance company issued a check in my mother’s name to cover the repairs.

Asked on August 6, 2015 under Estate Planning, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Speak with a probate attorney in detail about this situation. You might not be entitled to cash the check, since the person to whom it is made out is deceased and you have no letters testamentary or other forms/orders from the court giving you the authority to act on her behalf or for her estate. More importantly, potentially, if you did not disclose your mother's death to the insurer or the mortgage lender, you may be guilty of fraud or identity theft (acting as if you were her), and certainly have not honored your disclosure obligations. This may void your insurance and possibly cause the mortgage to come due all at once (generally, the are due when the borrower dies). You are potentially in a serious situation, and need legal representation.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Speak with a probate attorney in detail about this situation. You might not be entitled to cash the check, since the person to whom it is made out is deceased and you have no letters testamentary or other forms/orders from the court giving you the authority to act on her behalf or for her estate. More importantly, potentially, if you did not disclose your mother's death to the insurer or the mortgage lender, you may be guilty of fraud or identity theft (acting as if you were her), and certainly have not honored your disclosure obligations. This may void your insurance and possibly cause the mortgage to come due all at once (generally, the are due when the borrower dies). You are potentially in a serious situation, and need legal representation.


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