Q: My mother, a California resident, passed away about a week ago, with an estate that will be valued at less than $100,00.
My questions pertain to the proper way to deal with her checking account, to which I have online electronic access, and considering her checking account has no beneficiary designation. Specifically, what should I do, as the named executor in her will, concerning the following:
1. I’ve received hard copy checks today, payable to my mother, that represent interest on some Certificates of Deposit she held. Should I:
a. Deposit the checks in my mother’s checking account (thus maximizing her estate)?
b. Return the checks to the issuers with some sort of instruction to them?
c. Something else?
Note: I am one of 3 named beneficiaries in her will. All 3 beneficiaries are to share equally in the estate's assets (1/3rd to each)
A: The correct way to handle this, assuming your mother's total estate is less than $150,000, is to return the checks along with a Small Estate Affidavit instructing the bank to make the checks payable jointly to the three beneficiaries.
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