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How do I deposit a check paid to my deceased spouses estate and move other property and assets into my name?

Vancouver, WA |

I live in wa state and my husband died w/o a will. His final check is made out to his estate. He has a 401 and life insurance at work. He also is the signatory on our home that he bought before we married but refinanced while married.

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Attorney answers 2


As a surviving spouse you may not need to transfer title to your name, and could wait until you either dispose of the titled assets or your heirs can do so.

You should be able to deposit the check as his surviving spouse. If you are unable, then you can file for probate and be named executor, at which point you can do so.

Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC


The 401(k) and life insurance pass outside of the estate. You should inform the plan administrator of the 401(k) and the life insurance company of your husband's death, provide them with the required information, and you will receive the benefits. Depending on how the home is titled, you may or may not need to file for probate. If the only other asset is his check, you can transfer it via small estate administration, which is a streamlined process. You can discuss this procedure with a probate attorney or even contact the probate clerk in your jurisdiction. They are usually very helpful.

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