Asked in Estate Planning for Maryland

Q: As a court ordered special administrator of my daughters estate am I allowed to cash checks received in her name

Unemployment checks finally received

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1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Assuming the checks are for periods of unemployment prior to her death, yes, you are authorized to accept and deposit the checks into an estate account (opened in your name as Special Administrator of her estate). However, you may need to have the checks re-issued in the name of the estate, or payable to you as "[your name], Special Administrator of the Estate of [daughter's name]." The checks belong to the estate, and any funds must be applied first to administrative costs of the estate, then to other expenditures approved under the Estate Code, before distribution to the heirs. If the checks cover any period after her death, it would be fraud (and a potential criminal offense if done deliberately and knowingly) to negotiate the checks or keep the money. You cannot "cash" the checks at a check cashing store or otherwise and pocket the money. That would subject you to potential criminal and civil claims, and certainly result in removal as Special Administrator of the estate. You have fiduciary duties imposed by law to safeguard the estate assets and account for how they are applied and managed.

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