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My wife passed away on the 17th of November 2022. I just sold her car to Carvana. When I got home I noticed the check was made out to my wife ($4,000). We did not have a joint bank account. I do my banking with Chime. How do I handle this?

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  • 12
    First, try and request a new cheque in your name. Feb 20, 2023 at 7:43
  • 17
    Key questions would be 1. What jurisdiction are you in, 2. Who is the executor for your wife's estate and 3. has your wife's estate been "closed" yet. Feb 20, 2023 at 18:09

3 Answers 3

64

I'm sorry for your loss. In this case, you give it to her estate executor (if that is not you) who would then deposit the check in her account or in the account of her estate.

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  • 20
    assuming you are the executor, you can presumably endorse the back of it with something like "Your Name (Executor for estate of Wife's Name)", it might be worth an inquiry to the bank first.
    – Zach
    Feb 20, 2023 at 16:11
11

Once I was officially appointed the executor of my mother's estate, I was able to open an estate account in her name. Then I could deposit checks made out to her and write checks to distribute the account to her heirs.

-24

This might not be strictly legal but I would not hesitate to fake your wife's signature on the back of the check signing it over to you, and then deposit the check in your own account. Who is going to object?

Edited to add: In response to the many comments, I did not intend to advocate anything underhanded. I only meant to suggest that there is no harm in circumventing some red tape, assuming that the OP is the legitimate heir, that there is no dispute about that, and that the money will eventually be his in any event. Of course those assumptions might not always be correct, but for cases involving the death of a spouse (at least in the jurisdictions I'm aware of), they are likely to be.

And in this case, that likelihood is considerably increased by what the OP has told us about the source of the funds, namely "I had just sold her car". Apparently the OP is already operating under the assumption that his wife's property is now legitimately his.

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    The person who wrote the check may object, and they may be able to trivially prove that the check was received after her death. Feb 21, 2023 at 3:08
  • 24
    I'm trying to think of a reasonable scenario where forging a signature is ever the correct advice.
    – PC Luddite
    Feb 21, 2023 at 4:37
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    @PCLuddite It doesn't exist. The very definition of "forgery" is that it is legally wrong. Doing it legally would involve aspects of law that makes it legal, instead of forgery.
    – Nelson
    Feb 21, 2023 at 4:56
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    @WillO there are plenty innocuous reasons why the OP may not be the heir, or maybe they are but not the executor. In any case, forging a signature is really never a good option, especially if the legal way is trivially more effort than the illegal one (or probably no more effort at all if they are the executor).
    – PC Luddite
    Feb 21, 2023 at 5:12
  • 18
    Who's going to object are other heirs to the estate. If there's some dispute (and family disputes tend to be nasty) they subpoena the husband's bank records and the check, find the impossible signature, and boom felony embezzlement charges. It happens.
    – user71659
    Feb 21, 2023 at 7:11

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