If a check written to a deceased party was received after death and not deposited, what happens to it?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If a check written to a deceased party was received after death and not deposited, what happens to it?

My aunt passed on 9/1 and afterwards a check for $20,000 was received. The check was forwarded to the attorney handling her estate. She had multiple checking, savings, certificates of deposit and various banks. The above accounts listed in her Will outlining who gets what. However, the estate’s attorney states the check goes to a checking account. Since the check was never deposited, how does he know where it would go. She could have deposited into a checking or savings account, opened

another CD, traded in her Lexus and bought a new car, etc. Would this be residuary property or how does it work? She lived in FL all her life and all accounts are also there.

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Estate Planning, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Actually, what should be done legally is that a dedicated "estate" account should be opened up and any checks or payments coming into her post-death will be deposited into that estate account and used for estate expenses--her final expenses (e.g. funeral), unpaid bills, costs of probate, etc. Indeed, the money in her liquid accounts (savings and checking) should also be moved into the estate account and those accounts closed, since they are invalid once the account holder dies. All her cash is used first to satisfy her creditors, pay her final expenses, and pay other estate expenses: whatever is left after that is distributed to her heirs/beneficiaries.

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