Can I Keep a Stimulus Check That Was Addressed to my Deceased Spouse?

Because the new coronavirus has greatly impacted us all, the U.S. government recently passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help those who have been struggling financially, both businesses and individuals. One of the most direct ways in which the stimulus package helps individuals is by sending them stimulus checks in the form of a one-time cash rebate. That being said, the IRS, understandably, was in quite a hurry to get these checks out to the public, as many people are in serious financial trouble and need those checks as soon as possible. Unfortunately, as a result, they have made certain mistakes, including sending these stimulus checks to people who are already deceased.

The main reason for this is because these checks are being sent based on tax returns filed in 2018 or 2019. If you or your spouse filed these taxes jointly in the last couple of years and your spouse has passed away since, the IRS may not know this yet, causing them to send you an additional stimulus check.

This leaves many people who wrongly received one of these checks wondering whether they will have to return it. Fortunately, though the answer to this question is not entirely clear, we can say that most likely, you will not have to return the check addressed to your deceased spouse. The IRS has stated that they do not expect people to return this money, however, President Trump has said that he does think that the money should be returned. The Government Accountability Office is investigating the matter, and we should receive information regarding whether you are officially allowed to keep those checks or not.

That being said, the best thing you can do, for now, is to simply keep the check, do not cash it, and do not spend the money. Depositing the check does not mean you can keep the money. If you have any additional questions regarding the estate planning or administration process, please do not hesitate to give our experienced Maryland estate planning firm a call today. We are here to help.

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The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.