Can we use the check made to her estate for the funeral?
3 attorney answers
Mr. Cannon is right. If you want to negotiate that check, you're going to need to deal with the probate court.
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First things first: You are going to need to open an estate in order to deposit or cash the check. A check made to the Estate can only be endorsed by the Administrator. If there is no estate open, there is no administrator.
If I were you, I would call Matthew Duggin in Knoxville at (865) 357-9988. He'll help you figure it out.
You will need to contact a probate attorney. T.C.A. 30-2-317 states that "reasonable" funeral expenses are to be paid ahead of almost every other creditor. And T.C.A. 45-2-708 allows a bank to pay money from a decedent's bank account so long as the amount is under $10,000 to certain people or creditors, including funeral homes. Hopefully between these laws, the probate attorney can figure a way to use the funds to pay the funeral home.