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My aunt died in a nursing home in St.Louis,Mo. Her younger sister, took care of her affairs ,signed my aunt's names on the checks to pay. When she died the refund check was paid in my decesed aunt's name. The bank wont accept the check, even though the younger sister's name is on the account. Does this $1600 check need to be probated?

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I represented the heirs of a person who died before receiving a large settlement check. Again, it was made out to the deceased. We had to open a probate case just to get the check cashed. As mentioned by others, here, under state law there may be creditors that need to be paid before the estate can be distributed among the heirs (if no will) or beneficiaries (if there IS a will). Most states have a quick and inexpensive version of probate that you can use, hopefully.
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Did she have a Will? A POA is no longer legal once someone dies, the executor of the estate will need to set up an executor account. If there is not a Will you will need to address in Probate.
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I deposited several checks made out to mom after she passed. Of course, I didn't let the bank KNOW she'd passed. That was on the advice of my attorney. I went theuru the drive-thru.

I was the only person inheriting from mom, her only child. What I was doing was for convenience. If one is doing same in order to secret funds or for any other nefarious reason, that would be a bad thing.

Folks, you don't have to run to the bank and tell them someone has passed.
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I suggest you ask the bank about the reason for refusing to accept the check. Ask them to be specific, including where that policy is written and ask for a copy of the policy. If you understand their basis, then you will have a better chance putting a fight. Banks are notoriously risk adverse. So they might be doing a CYA, especially if your mother's account does not have sufficient funds in it all ready to cover the amount of the check. Banks don't like any sort of risk.
You might consider asking an attorney whether the bank has a legitimate position. But don't ask an attorney with a close relationship with the bank. Also don't pay much for the attorney's opinion.
If your bank has several branches and you can make a deposit through an ATM, then try depositing the check and see what happens. It might slide past the electronic screening. But don't use your mother's ATM card, because the bank is likely to recognize that card.
Also, could her younger sister make the check payable to you? Then you would deposit it in your separate account. It might work and it might not. Don't spend the funds for at least two weeks. Remember a bank is never on your side--unless you are a large depositor.
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My lawyer also advised me that when my 90-yr old parent dies, don't tell the bank. Remove all contents from safe deposit boxes ASAP. Banks can be finicky and bank staff often are not knowledgeable about the laws in this area. Talk to a lawyer about your parent's bank issues and your own estate-now. Too many middle age people wait too long and an accident causes irreversible financial problems. Investing in a good estate lawyer now can save you thousands later, and more importantly give you & your family peace of mind.
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I believe the reason this happens is that payments to a deceased person are subject to the claims of creditors of the estate. So I'm guessing that somebody will need to fill out papers at the courthouse to be appointed administrator of the estate (if she didn't name an executor) and will have to accept and pay out money pursuant to the probate court rules.
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Some states have a procedure that you can go through in the Estates division that allows you to open a file in order to resolve small issues, like funds under $10,000.00. The paperwork is pretty simple and you don't have to go through a lot of requirements like filing publications, etc. It's basically a way to get money paid in that was owed to the decedent. I would contact an attorney and/or the Estates office in the county of her residence and ask about what is sometimes called the Small Estate filing. There are actually a couple of them and one requires no filing fee in my state.

I know some people who had to do this. It's difficult to get an company to issue a check in the name of anyone other than the named payable party. They may issue it to the Estate of the decedent, but you would need an Estate bank account to deposit it, which you can't get without an estate case being opened. Good luck.
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Have you closed the account at the bank? Why can't you just deposit it? That's what I did. Of course, there was no "estate" but I did not close my Mom's checking account (my name was on the account) for a bit just to keep confusion down.
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A Power Of Attorney (POA)s are void at the time of Death of the deceased person for whom you had a POA. Only an Executor or Court Appointee can take charge of an Estate.
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I'm in Canada. When my mother passed I didn't tell her bank, however you have to advise various government authorities, such as SS. Her account, which didn't have a lot in it, was immediately frozen so the bank received the information from elsewhere.

I have a refund cheque from the NH made payable to "the estate of ..." and when the government death benefit arrives it will likely be made payable the same way. I have spoken with her bank. All I have to do is go to her bank with the two cheques payable to the estate of along with a notarial copy of her Will showing me to be the executor and sole beneficiary and they will wind things up on the spot.
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