Estate Planning

My Deceased Husband Received A Check In The Mail (4 Steps To Take)

Larry Li


While dealing with the loss of a loved one is already more than challenging, it can get even more confusing if you receive a check in their name in the mail.

So what can you do if your deceased husband received a check in the mail?

In most cases, you cannot personally cash a check made out in your deceased husband’s name. However, the executor of your deceased husband’s estate may be able to cash the check into the estate bank account. At other times, you may need to return the check to the sender and contact them to explain the situation. 

Furthermore, it depends on the type of check that is received. For example, if it was a government stimulus check..

In today’s in-depth guide, you’ll learn:

  • What type of check your deceased husband received

  • If you can deposit a check written to your deceased husband

  • How to deposit checks of deceased persons

  • Planning ahead with Trustworthy

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What Type of Check Did Your Deceased Husband Receive?

First, you must consider what type of check your deceased husband received. There are two primary categories: stimulus checks and social security benefits. 

So, what happens if you receive a $1,400 stimulus check for your fallen husband? If your husband died before January 1, 2021, you must return the check to the IRS. However, if your husband died in 2021 or you filed a joint return, you can keep the check. 

Even so, if you received the check in both names, you must return it to the IRS and submit a letter requesting a new payment issued in the surviving spouse’s name only. You must include your social security numbers in your letter to the IRS.

If the check sent to your deceased husband was for social security benefits, the estate executor must find out if they can deposit the check into the estate or return it back to the sender. We recommend contacting the sending party and explaining the check was sent to a deceased individual. You may need to provide your husband’s death certificate. 

Can I Deposit a Check Written to My Deceased Husband?

You cannot personally deposit a check written to your dead husband. This is because the check for your deceased husband belongs to his estate, even if you are his spouse. Therefore, the check must be given to the executor of his estate. Then, the executor can deposit it into the estate account to use for bills when settling his estate.

If any money is left at the end of the expense settlements, the executor can distribute it as they see fit. Even if you have a joint bank account, you won’t be able to deposit a check payable to your dead husband into your account. This is because his name was removed when he passed away.  

How to Deposit Checks of Deceased Persons?

So, you just received a check made out to your deceased husband and aren’t sure what to do next. Although you and your family can benefit greatly from the money, you can’t simply deposit it into your own bank account.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should do next.

1. Check For a POD Account

The first step is to check if your husband had a payable-on-death (POD) account. This is an account where he named a beneficiary to receive any money left in the account upon his death. The money will automatically pass to the beneficiary, which is hopefully you.

The named beneficiary can contact the bank to see if the account exists. You may need to provide your husband's ID, death certificate, and other information that verifies your relationship with the deceased.

2. Contact the Executor

If a POD account is unavailable, the next step is to contact the executor or administrator of your dead husband’s estate. This is typically you, the spouse, or one of his close family members. 

By law, the executor of a deceased individual’s estate can endorse checks, including checks on interest or principal, tax refunds, or payments for services and goods. Therefore, it makes sense to contact the executor and ask that the payment is honored. 

3. Act as Executor

If you are the executor of your deceased husband’s estate, you have the power to cash the check into an estate account. However, if you are not the estate’s executor, you cannot endorse or deposit the check.

As the executor, your primary task is to open an estate account.

4. Open an Estate Account

The correct way of depositing checks of a deceased person is through an estate account by the executor. This is because the executor is the legal representative of your deceased husband’s estate, so they have the authority to perform duties that may impact the estate. As such, depositing a check for cash value is undoubtedly an activity that affects the estate. 

Bring your ID and court documents designating you as the executor of the estate to the bank. You may need to bring the official documents with the raised seal since the bank may not accept copies. This is because the bank uses these documents to officially name you the executor of the estate account. 

Once you open the estate account, you can deposit the check into the deceased’s estate. Since the probate process requires all of the deceased person’s assets to be accounted for, deposing a check into an account not owned by your husband is illegal. 

In any case, the best plan of action is to contact the sender who issued the check. This way, you can know with certainty what is allowed or disallowed based on what the check was issued for. So if you received a social security check for your dead husband, you should contact social security or visit a local office to explain the situation. 

Plan Ahead With Trustworthy

In essence, only the estate executor can handle checks for your deceased husband. That check typically moves into the estate’s checking account, which is used to take care of pending expenses or distributed to beneficiaries, such as yourself. 

However, you can avoid most of the post-death financial headaches by preparing yourself with Trustworthy. Trustworthy is an innovative digital storage platform dedicated to storing and organizing all of life’s essential documents and files.

With Trustworthy, you can safely upload and share your family's estate plans. This includes Wills, Testaments, Advance Directives, and a power of attorney. This way, your family is prepared if worse comes to worst and someone you love passes away. 

Trustworthy helps to plan, organize, and securely share your estate planning documents. All in all, Trustworthy provides the easiest and most convenient way of handling post-death affairs, such as dealing with checks made out to a deceased loved one. Try Trustworthy for yourself with a 14-day free trial, and get 20% off if you subscribe within 24 hours of starting your free trial! 

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