Charlotte, MI asked in Gov & Administrative Law and Tax Law for Michigan

Q: My mother died in 2019. She just received a stimulus check in the mail. Does the CARES Act state it should be returned?

She has 3 surviving children. Should we cash or send back to treasury.

1 Lawyer Answer
D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Englewood, CO

A: The CARES act does not address this situation and neither has the IRS. The current professional consensus is that where the individual passed in 2019 the estate is allowed to keep the amounts and distribute the funds.

There is not currently a function to return the funds. We don't know if there will be, the IRS has frequently stated that funds are not required to be returned. It will likely be a while before we receive guidance on this matter and by that time the check will have gone stale.

I would suggest placing the funds in an estate account and waiting for the IRS to give an answer. Or retain an attorney to advise you, that way you have relied on a professional and in the event the IRS seeks the funds to be returned any penalties have a high chance of being waived based on your reliance of the professionals advice. It's more complex than that but you get my point.

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