what do we do with her money?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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what do we do with her money?

I work at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake and we have encountered something that we are unsure how to handle. In our New Life Recovery program when a student reaches phase 3 they start, what we call, Rent Like Savings. On the 1st of every month they pay $400 in rent. This money is put into a trust account and they receive it back when they leave the program whether thats graduate or leave on their own will. This is to get them use to paying rent monthly which several have never done but also so that by the time they graduate the program they have anywhere from $1,600 to $2,000 that they can put towards a place of their own. If they are on SSI and cannot work they put in $200 in savings instead of the full $400 and the account amount is capped at $1,500 because at any given time they are not allowed to have over $2,000 or they can lose their benefits. We recently had a student leave the program and had $200 in the trust savings. She passed away last week before she was able to pick up her money. We are unsure what to do with it since we were holding the money in trust for her. She has 6 children and did not have a will, that we are aware of. Do you have any advice or could you point us in a direction where we can find the appropriate answer?

Asked on August 22, 2018 under Estate Planning, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there is no will, it will go to her children--ultimately. One of them needs to come forward armed with legal authority over the  "estate" (what the deceased leaves behind) from the courts. This is typically called "letters testamentary" or something similar, and will appoint that child as the "personal representative" or "administrator" of the estate (terms vary from one state to another). Once she has that, the money can be turned over to her, payable to the "Estate of Jane Doe" (whatever her name was). But you need somone--again, it will almost certainly be one of the children--come forward with the requisite legal authority. Contact the children (whichever of them you have contact information for) and let them know that you are holding $200 of their mother's and will release it when someone has the court authorization to receive it; they need to then go to the probate court and get that authorization.

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