You may have been seeing, reading, or hearing on your favorite source of media that stimulus checks are being delivered to some of our deceased relatives. Can the estate keep it?
Personal Representatives of estates have been asking what to do if they receive a direct deposit or a check in the mail with this stimulus payment. Can the heirs keep it? What is everyone supposed to do?
The IRS provided some instructions for us:
Q: My mother’s estate received an Economic Impact Payment (“EIP”) under the COVID stimulus package. Does the estate get to keep that money?
The short answer, no. If your mother was unmarried when she died, the money needs to be returned to the IRS. The IRS created a process for returning those payments, explained below.
If your mother was married, her spouse is still living, and they filed a joint return, the living spouse gets to keep their portion of the EIP. Your mother’s portion still needs to be returned though. If the couple’s adjusted gross income was under $150,000, the amount to be returned will be $1,200.
Q: How does the Personal Representative or surviving spouse return the EIP?
The IRS created a process for returning the payments to deceased recipients. According to the Q&A section of the IRS website, if the EIP came as a physical check and you still have it, do the following:
- Write “Void” in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
- Mail the voided Treasury check immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
- Don’t staple, bend, or paper clip the check.
- Include a note stating the reason for returning the check.
If the payment arrived as a physical check which you already cashed or deposited, or if the payment went directly to a bank account, the IRS recommends the following:
- Submit a personal check or money order immediately to the appropriate IRS location listed below.
- Write on the check or money order made payable to “U.S. Treasury.”
- Write “2020 EIP” and your loved one’s identification number (social security number or individual taxpayer identification number).
- Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the EIP.
Q: Where do I send the returned EIP?
For estates in Maine, send the EIP to:
Andover Refund Inquiry Unit
310 Lowell St. Mail Stop, 666A
Andover, MA 01810
You can follow this link for more information IRS website.
Candace Augustine, Esq.