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  1. #1
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    Feb 2019
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    Default Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Maryland
    I opened an estate for my father recently. There is a security deposit check I need to get reissued from 4 years ago, (he and his spouse sold a mobile home and a check was issued but never cashed). The spouse preceded him in death by 2 years. The company that will reissue the check wants a death certificate and letter of administration for her estate also (this may or may not be true, only second contact with them). Harford County says since she died first the check should be his estate (and they shouldn't need a letter of admin for her). Is there any way to get the company to issue a check to just him or cash the check in both their names?, this was a second marriage and there was no contact between her family and mine. The company has told me the check will be reissued as it was originally on the contract which they both jointly owned the house. Thank you for any guidance!

  2. #2
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    Harford County says since she died first the check should be his estate (and they shouldn't need a letter of admin for her).
    "The check should be his estate"? That doesn't even make sense. Also, according to Wikipedia, there are over a quarter million people in Harford County, Maryland, and I imagine there are dozens or hundreds of folks who work for the county. Who exactly told you this (not an actual name, but a title or position)?


    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    Is there any way to get the company to issue a check to just him or cash the check in both their names?
    How the maker of the check re-issues the check is entirely up to it. There is also a serious question whether the maker of the check has any obligation to re-issue it at all.


    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    this was a second marriage and there was no contact between her family and mine.
    Not sure what this really means or what it has to do with anything.


    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    The company has told me the check will be reissued as it was originally on the contract which they both jointly owned the house.
    That's the only sensible thing for the company to do unless you can convince it that there's no way it will have any liability for issuing the check only to your father or his estate.

    You need to think about this logically. Let's say that you owed money to two individuals, Jack and Diane. You discharged that obligation by writing a joint check to Jack and Diane. Then, after four years, you hear from Jack's son who tells you that both Jack and Diane are dead and that they never cashed the check. Jack's son wants you to re-issue the check, payable only to Jack or Jack's estate. Why would you do that? What if you do as requested and then Diane's daughter comes to you and asks for the same money? Why would you put yourself -- and why would the maker of this security deposit check put itself -- in the position of potentially being liable for paying the same money twice -- regardless of how remote that possibility might be?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    3

    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    1-The Harford County I spoke of is the Register of Wills who opened the small estate for my father. 2-The company has already agreed to reissue the check, i am just trying to find a way to cash it, I don't even care if it has to be split between his spouse estate but there is no contact there so I wouldn't know where to begin on that one, they may not even have an estate 3- I was just trying to give as much information as I thought meaningful, I am not a lawyer. 4- And I understand that, when the Register of wills said he was the last deceased of he marriage the check should go to him, they didn't say it was legal advice. I am just thinking even though I may get a check it may not be cashable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Maryland
    I opened an estate for my father recently. There is a security deposit check I need to get reissued from 4 years ago, (he and his spouse sold a mobile home and a check was issued but never cashed). The spouse preceded him in death by 2 years. The company that will reissue the check wants a death certificate and letter of administration for her estate also (this may or may not be true, only second contact with them).
    Of course it's true. It's also rather common and, as PG1067 explained, necessary. One doesn't just issue checks based on a stranger's sayso.

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    Harford County says since she died first the check should be his estate (and they shouldn't need a letter of admin for her).
    Harford County has nothing to say about the requirements of any other person or entity.

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    Is there any way to get the company to issue a check to just him or cash the check in both their names?,
    If you want the check in just your father's name, one possibility occurs to me but it would be up to the company issuing the check to accept it or not. You could purchase a surety bond from a bonding company that would guarantee to indemnify the company issuing the check should another relative come out of the woodwork and lay claim to the money.

    If the check gets issued in both their names it will have to be probated for the spouse. This wouldn't have been necessary had the check been deposited in their joint account before the spouse died.

    It's a mess. How much money is it?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    3

    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    The amount is around $1200. Yes, it's a mess. What was happening was they were both elderly and sick, his spouse left him due to her medical problems and at first wanted to divorce to get her financial half but decided she wanted to stay on his health care benefits through his retirement. My father did not want to cause her suffering financially so he agreed. That's how the check was never dealt with because of the 2 sides lawyers having so much confusion, they would have split the check way back then but she died shortly after (2 months) a simple agreement of splitting up bank accounts and house money. Then, while this was going on, my Mom got sick (my parents divorced when I was a child, at this point they were 94 and 90) and I was taking care of both of their needs, the check was never dealt with, basically forgotten and now some entities have come to me recently and said your father has money sitting here we need to deal with, I opened an estate to do that and remembered that check. The surety bond is an interesting idea. And yes, I wonder if it is worth it since I may never have a cashable check.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    The surety bond is an interesting idea. And yes, I wonder if it is worth it since I may never have a cashable check.
    It should be similar to a probate bond, but in favor of the company issuing the check.

    Plenty of places to get it:

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=probate+bo...&t=ffab&ia=web

    If it costs you a hundred or two for the bond, you're ahead the rest of the money.

    See if the check issuer will accept a bond and issue the check just in your father's name, or even directly to you if you can swing it.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    1-The Harford County I spoke of is the Register of Wills who opened the small estate for my father.
    According to the bio of the Harford County Register of Wills, that person is not a lawyer and, even if he were, he certainly isn't your lawyer. In any event, what he thinks the company should or "shouldn't need" is irrelevant.


    Quote Quoting terrys21
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    2-The company has already agreed to reissue the check, i am just trying to find a way to cash it, I don't even care if it has to be split between his spouse estate but there is no contact there so I wouldn't know where to begin on that one, they may not even have an estate
    I understand all that, but it's not really relevant. The bottom line here is that, if this is sufficiently worthwhile to you'll find out who your former stepmother's next of kin was and/or take whatever action is needed to establish that the money belonged to your father. However, the amount of money at issue here is so small that's it's probably not worth any serious investment of time or money.

    P.S. I'd be shocked if any bonding company would be willing to write a bond for this. Among other things, it would require time and effort to create special-purpose bond form, and that really wouldn't be worthwhile for a couple hundred dollars in premium. Even if you could find a bonding company to do this, you might have to post collateral to get the bond.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    If the check was originally issued while the wife was alive, it’s proper that it be reissued with both names on the check. Since you state they sold the home, I presume she was alive at the time.

    The check needs to be reissued with both names (presuming she was alive). the issuer cannot make the unilateral determination your father would have ended up with all of his wife’s estate and issuing it in his name only would be them making that call.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    211

    Default Re: Two Party Check with Both Deceased and Only One Estate

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    According to the bio of the Harford County Register of Wills, that person is not a lawyer and, even if he were, he certainly isn't your lawyer. In any event, what he thinks the company should or "shouldn't need" is irrelevant.
    That may be correct, the register of wills may be only giving advice based off his/her experience and/or opinion. Hey wait - that's the same thing you're getting from everyone responding here!

    So it is really not relevant what anyone here thinks of the register of wills of Hartford County or that person's advice.

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