The tenant passed away and a few of her decedents claim to inherit the security money, but none of them can show me beneficiary paper work . What should I do?
If you make the check payable to the tenant, who is now deceased, the Surrogate's Court will decide who is entitled to the money. By doing this, you will be protected, and will not be accused later on of making the check payable to the wrong party.
Ms. Willi is a tax attorney, CPA, and Ohio-Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law, with offices in Westerville, Ohio. She serves client families and private business owners throughout Ohio. Ms. Willi responds to Avvo questions as a public service to help educate and provide general guidance to questioners, but her responses are not legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Her posts are provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for advice provided by an attorney or licensed tax professional. Her phone number is 614-890-0500 and her website is www.willilaw.com.
Retention and return of residential security deposits are governed by statutory law. You know the tenant passed away but don't know how or to whom the deposit should be returned. The tenant may or may not have had a Will. You can contact the Surrogate of the county in which the tenant resided to find out whether a Will for the tenant was submitted and filed for probate more than 10 days after the tenant's death, and, if so, who was named and appointed as the Executor of the tenant's Estate. The executor is the one to whom the deposit should be returned. But, if the tenant died without a Will, you should try to find out which of his relatives intends to apply to the Surrogate for appointment as the Administrator of the tenant's Estate. Upon being notified of the appointment, return the deposit to the Administrator. Considering the situation, it may be wise to consult legal counsel for advice regarding the matter.
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