My dad died in 06 & my mom died in 09. I have found several uncashed Money Orders payable to them some dating back to 1997. From what I understand Money Orders do not expire. The following Service Charge info is printed on the back: "If this Money Order is not used or cashed (presented for payment) within three (3) years of the purchase date, there will be a nonrefundable service charge where permitted by law. The service charge will be deducted from the amount of payment shown on the Money Order. The service charge is twenty five (25) cents per month from the date of purchase, but not more than twenty-one (21) dollars." Is this charge legal in Michigan? What will I need to do to cash these Money Orders and where can I cash them? Thanks, Mark
Real Estate Attorney
In order to cash the money orders you will need to open a probate estate if one has not been opened already in either of their names. After the probate estate is opened, and a personal reprsentative is appointed, the personal representative should be able to cash the money orders. The money orders would then have to be distributed according to the terms of the will, or intestate succession if there is no will. If there are no other assets to probate and the checks are less than $20,000.00, I would recommend opening a small estate which is a simplifed probate process to transfer smaller assets and the appointment of a personal representative is not necessary. You should be able to cash the money orders at a bank or check cashing service. If they will not cash the money orders, I would recommend contacting Moneygram directly. In regards to the fee, it is likely the service charge is enforceable.