What to do if you receive a stimulus check on behalf of a decedent
As a family member or trustee for a decedent, you are often managing mail on behalf of your loved one. While it is quite common to receive checks made payable to a decedent, it is always important to note the source of the income to determine if it is collectable or not.
Case in point: the stimulus checks that many Americans are receiving right now.
The IRS has issued guidance stating that the money should be returned immediately and anyone who dies before receiving the payment does not qualify for a check.
Note that if you receive a stimulus check on behalf of your surviving spouse and you file a joint tax return, you are only required to return your deceased spouse’s half of the money.
The steps to return the payments according to the IRS are as follows:
Direct deposit payments
- Step 1: Mail a personal check or money order for the correct amount to your state’s IRS refund inquiry unit.
- Step 2: Make the check or money order payable to “U.S. Treasury” and write “2020EIP” and the decedent’s Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number.
- Step 3: In the envelope, include a note that explains why the check is being returned.
Paper check payments, but the check has been cashed
- Follow the three steps for direct deposit payments above.
Paper check payments that have not been cashed
- Step 1: Write “Void” on the back of the check in the endorsement section.
- Step 2: Don’t staple, bend or paper clip the check.
- Step 3: In the envelope, leave a note that details why you’re returning the check.
- Step 4: Mail the voided check to your state’s IRS refund inquiry unit.
To figure out where to mail your stimulus check payback based on the state you live in, visit the Economic Impact Payment Information Center on the IRS website and go to Question 41.