Plan Ahead To Prevent Check Holdups

If you have a utility or other recurring bill in the name of a person who has died, you might want to change the name on the account right away. Some people just leave the name of the deceased on the bill and keep paying it.

In a story on, the case of a New York family that failed to do so is chronicled. The failure to change the name on the account actually cost them money.

The house was on the market for a while and they continued to pay the bills. Eventually, they learned that the utility company actually owed them money, and the company sent the family a check, made out to the deceased man whose name was still on the account.

They couldn’t cash the check and the company would not or could not reissue it in another name.

A lawyer said it is a common problem among the elderly and involves all sorts of accounts, cable, telephone and others. The lawyer said the problem could be fixed by asking the company to make the check out to the deceased man’s estate. It would require the estate’s executor going to the utility company’s office with the check, and the death certificate, along with paperwork showing that he or she is the executor.

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