According to Cornell Law School, the only person who can legally cash a deceased person’s check is the executor or executrix of the deceased person’s estate. In the absence of a will authorising such an agent, the heirs must visit the probate court to get letters testamentary.
The executor/executrix of an estate should deposit or cash the check at an approved financial institution. The executor must sign the reverse of the document as follows:
by (executor or executrix signature)
Executor/Executrix of Payee’s Estate
The non-executor/executrix must then petition the probate court to be lawfully appointed as executor/executrix. This can be time-consuming, and all parties must have the right documentation in place or risk having their request denied by the court. There are probate attorneys who deal with persons in similar situations who are unsure about the process.