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Estate account

Rockland, MA |

my husband passed away four months agoand i just recived the check for his life insuarnce made out to his estate. my bank will not let me deposit this check even though i have all the probate papers name me the executor. do i need to open an estate account and how long does it take?

Attorney Answers 3


Please accept my condolences for your lost.

First, just so I'm clear -- the estate was the beneficiary of the life insurance, and not you?

OK.... if that's the case, if you've been appointed as executor or administrator of the estate and you have your decree in hand, the only thing you should need to open the account is a taxpayer identification number from the IRS for the estate. You can complete the form on line at the IRS web site, or any accountant or estate planning/probate attorney can do it for you. If you have the taxpayer ID number and the decree and the bank still refuses to cooperate, go to another bank.

Please feel free to contact me at 781-433-8665 if I can be of assistance with the next steps.

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I am sorry for your recent loss.

If the check is made payable to the estate, you will need to open an estate account with your bank. As attorney Golden pointed out, you will need to request a taxpayer identification number and bring all your paperwork to the bank. I also agree with attorney Golden that if your bank is not assisting you in the setup of this account, you should find a new bank.

There may be other problems with this transaction, and you may find it helpful to have the advice of an estate administration attorney as you manage your duties as executrix.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further assistance. 617-357-4898.

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You have run in to a very common situation. Whether the check is a final pay check, a rebate or refund, a check for insurance or some other check banks will routinely decline to allow you to cash or deposit into your own account even if the will names you as sole beneficiary. In my experience it usually takes about an hour to open an account at the bank. You will later need to file your inventory and account as per the obligations you accepted on the probate bond.

It is unlikely that any experienced bank representative will have any problem opening the account if you bring your certificate of appointment (or certified copy of the court decree appointing you), the insurance check and a copy of the IRS letter assigning the Tax identification number for the estate.

Best Wished. Should you have any further problems, feel free to call.

Daniel T. Blake

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