Buffalo, NY asked in Banking, Criminal Law and Estate Planning for New York

Q: Can a joint account holder deposit a check into their account if the check is made out to someone who passed away?

Mother received a large check from retirement account and she passed away before cashing it. Her boyfriend deposited the check into their joint account several days after her passing and then closed the account once the check cleared. He now has the money and is refusing to give it to the children. There was no will so children became the estate administrators. Is this legal?

3 Lawyer Answers
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If he endorsed a check made payable to your deceased mother he committed fraud. You can call the police and/or DA to report it.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: No, that is not legal. He tricked the bank, which obviously did not know your mother had passed. That check should have been part of your mother’s probate estate. Hire a local probate attorney to help you probate your mother’s estate and recover those funds.

Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
Answered
  • Business Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: It is a serious crime for a fraudulent endorsement. Report to the police immediately.

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