I live in Colorado and my mother was a resident of Washington when she passed away. I recently filed to claim a warrant for her unclaimed property from the Washington Department of Social Services. I sent them all the required documentation including an affidavit of successor. I have just received the check and it was made out to the estate of her c/o my name and address. I am needing to know how to go about cashing or depositing this check. No banks in our area will do this without an estate account. I am her only child and she left no will and owned no property.
Estate Planning Attorney
You can utilize the Colorado procedure for Collection of Personal Property by Affidavit (form JDF 999). Ten or more days must have passed since her death and the estate in total must be less than $60,000.00 (there can be no real estate involved, but you stated that was not an issue). Occasionally, banks will balk at accepting a check made out to "the estate of" in care of another party even with the affidavit; if so you may need an attorney to write a letter to the bank citing the statue to convince them to allow you to deposit the check.
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Retain a lawyer to determine if you can do some sort of simplified administration like a refusal of letters to creditor or small estate.
Legal disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted to practice law in the State of Missouri only, and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to Missouri. This answer is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation, and is for promotional purposes only. You should never rely on this answer alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney-client relationship. less
Elder Law Attorney
Q: How can I cash a check made out to my mother's estate c/o myself[?]
A: You can't by yourself, you need to file with the local probate court...
Here's what the Denver Probate Court says:
Small Estate Affidavit
When to use this form: If the decedent owned no real estate and the total value of all of the assets is equal to or less than $50,000 you may proceed with Small Estate Affidavit (CPC 40).
Note: If the decedent owned real estate, regardless of the value, this form cannot be used.
Note: The administration is handled exclusively between the person holding a decedent's property and the person(s) entitled to the property. The court cannot assist you.
Q. Can I collect personal property without going to court?
A. Assume a Colorado resident dies with property, exclusive of real estate, that has an aggregate in value less than $50,000. Armed with an Affidavit for Collection of Personal Property (CPC Form 40 / JDF 999), any interested person (a family member, designated fiduciary, or other interested person) can collect all of the assets, take care of any obligations outstanding at the time of the decedent's death, and distribute the remaing assets to the persons entitled to receive distributions. All of this can be done without seeking court appointment as personal representative for the estate.
Follow the link to get the forms!