If I have some checks issued to my deceased father, how can I cash them?

UPDATED: Nov 14, 2011

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If I have some checks issued to my deceased father, how can I cash them?

My father recently passed away with no POA or Will. He had no life insurance or property of value. I am an only child and he was widowed. He has received a few rebate checks, how can I cash them legally?

Asked on November 14, 2011 under Estate Planning, Washington


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You Father died "intestate" meaning with out a Will so the intestacy statutes in the state apply.  If you are an only child then you are the one who will probably inherit all.  If you Father left very little you can look in to what is known as a Small Estate proceeding in the Probate Court in the county in which he resided at the time of his death.  Most states allow a Small Estate affidavit where you would submit to the court an affidavit listing his assets and asking to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate.  You can not cash checks in his name unless you have the legal authority and then they have to be placed in an estate account as a general rule.  Good luck. 

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