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Estate received income after estate/probate closed. Do I have to reopen estate/probate ?

San Francisco, CA |

Estate received income after estate/probate closed. Do I have to reopen estate/probate ?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. It depends on the income and the facts surrounding the closing of the estate. In some states, Letters of Authority remain valid for some period of time, even after the estate is closed.

    As a practical matter, if you try to cash checks, for instance, the bank may insist on being presented with "recent" Letters of Authority (dated usually less than 60-90 days) from the date they are presented at the bank. If that happens, then the court will not issue any new letters of authority without having the estate reopened. They usually charge a fee to reopen the estate that costs the same as the original filing fee.

    You might try to take the check, (if that is what it is), to the bank and see if they will cash it. You will probably need to take the existing letters of authority with you. If they do not balk at it, you are all set.

    James Frederick


  2. What do you mean by "closed?" Has an order been entered discharging the administrator/executor? If not, the estate may still be open so that you can still deposit the checks in an (reopened?) estate bank account. Also, look at the final order for distribution. Often (and generally) the attorney for the administrator incudes a provision to the effect that any unknown assets discovered after the date of the order is to be distributed to the distributees without further order of court.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship


  3. Generally speaking, income follows the asset to which it is connected. In other words, if the income was rent for a piece of property owned by by the deceased, then, during probate, the rent would be paid to the Estate. After Probate, the income would go to whoever got the property at the close of the estate, unless some other arrangement was made by the Will. If the income is attributable to a piece of property and accrued and was paid after the estate closed, then it is not "Estate Income", but rather, income to the new beneficiary. If the income accrued (or was due) during the decedent's life, or during the estate, but was paid after the estate closed, then the estate will likely have to be reopened. You will probably need a lawyer to help with this, as there are potential tax issues.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship


  4. Just because the estate/probate has been closed by order of court does not mean that the bank account that was opened in the name of the estate was also closed. Those are two different issues. When I handle probate matters, the Orders I have generated provide that the Administrator/Executor shall distribute the property of the Decedent in Petitioner's name and all other property of the Decedent or of the Estate, whether or not now known or hereafter discovered, to the beneficiaries in the same proportion as otherwise provided (such as in equal shares).

    If the Order was worded that way, the Court already dealt with the issue of the income received after the estate/probate was closed. Now all you have to do is to deposit the money into the estate account and disburse it in that proportion.

    If no estate account is now open, you should see if the bank you work with regularly will allow an account to be reopened without the need for new court orders.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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