What to do if an insurance check is issued to my deceased father’s estate after the estate is closed?

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What to do if an insurance check is issued to my deceased father’s estate after the estate is closed?

I am executor of my deceased father’s estate which is currently in probate, however it is almost completed. The papers have been signed by the one creditor (the nursing home he was in) that filed a claim. I have not yet been presented with the final papers yet to sign off. I have now received an insurance check for $1,000 made out to myself for the “estate of” my father. Could I cash this check and would they find out and try to reclaim and demand the additional $1,000? I have received no monies at all as all as went to legal fee’s and the nursing home.

Asked on August 28, 2011 Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for what happened with all the assets of the estate. That is, unfortunately, the plight of the elderly today who really did not plan for their care when they got older. Although it may seem as if no one will find out about the issue with the check and only a small amount, you could get in to deeptrouble if you try and keep it.  It would be seen as a breach of your fiduciary duty and you could be held criminally liable on the basis of stealing an asset from the estate.  May I ask: did the Will waive your right to receive compensation as the fiduciary?  Or did you when you were appointed?  The lawyers did not waive their right to a fee and neither should you.  This is not a distribution of the estate assets but a debt of the estate as you are entitled under the law to collect.  You should get something based upon this.  Ask the lawyers.  Good luck.


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