Banking Category Banking: the easy, simple banking guide

How to cash an estate check

When dealing with estate assets, you can become frustrated with the requirements and legalities that need to be met at every corner. Referring to an estate check may mean one of two things: a check is made payable to a viable trust with a trustee managing the estate, or you are receiving a check payable to the estate of a deceased person for something such as real property. Each of these scenarios have a different way of cashing the estate check.

Determine if there is a viable trust account in existence at the bank for the trust. If there isn't, take the trust documents to the bank and open an account owned by the trust. The title often reads "Jane Doe TTEE FBO the Jane Doe Trust." TTEE means trustee, and FBO means for the benefit of. This example will assume you are the trustee. If you are not, you must have the trustee complete this transaction.

Endorse the check as the trustee of the account.

Deposit and cash the check. The trustee also has the ability to write checks and disperse funds from the trust account in accordance to the trust guidelines. These checks are made payable directly to the person or business being paid.

Determine the bank where the deceased held his checking or savings accounts.

Go to the bank with the check. Most checks payable to a deceased person's estate will read "Payable to the estate of Jane Doe." This may be a check cut based on the liquidation of real property and part of a probate process.

Explain to the bank customer service representative that you are depositing a check into an account of a person who has passed away. Present him with the check as well as the death certificate. A new bank account, or account title, should be generated as "The Estate of Jane Doe."

Present your paperwork that names you as the court appointed representative controlling the assets. The appointed representative may also be called an executor or administrator.

Deposit the check by endorsing it as the "representative" and cash the funds as is legally appropriate. If your court paperwork states that you are able to liquidate the funds, you will be able to cash the check immediately. If the paperwork is still going through the probate process, the funds may be frozen until the courts approve the documents appropriating the funds.

Things Needed

  • Trust
  • Death certificate
  • Probate court representative appointment