Can I cash a small check made out to my parents, who are both deceased?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I rec'd a check from my parents electric company for 73.00 that came to my house. They are both deceased now and I had the POA of them both but when they were both deceased my brother was named in charge in the will. Can I legally cash this check?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Unfortunately, you can't cash the check made out to your parents now that they are deceased"”even if you were named as the agent in their powers of attorney, and even if those powers went into effect during their lifetimes.

The money is now officially part of their estate, and in one optimistic sense, you are freed from the responsibility of dealing with it. So while it seems like a lot of rigmarole to go through for such a relatively small amount, you should simply give or mail the check to your brother, if he's been named executor in your parents' wills.

And if the electric company check is a refund for overpayment for services let me just add a bit of marvel: Most utility companies must be begged and begged again for such refunds.