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Am I Allowed to Keep My Deceased Spouse’s Stimulus Check?

Recently, the U.S. government passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to help ease the financial burden of the new coronavirus on Americans who run businesses, lost their jobs, or who are otherwise feeling the impact of the virus. There are various programs implemented within the $2 trillion stimulus package, however, perhaps the most direct means of helping struggling Americans is providing them with a one-time cash rebate of up to $1,200 per person, as long as they meet certain qualifications.

While this is great news for many Americans, the IRS was in such a hurry to implement this program that many individuals with deceased spouses are receiving stimulus checks addressed to their deceased spouse. This is primarily because the checks are based on the tax returns filed either in 2018 or 2019. Those who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019 jointly with their spouses may receive these checks because the IRS has not yet realized that one spouse has passed away.

Of course, if you received one of these checks, you are most likely now wondering whether you can keep it, or if you will have to return it. There is not yet a clear answer to this question, however, chances are, there is a chance you will not have to return this check. The IRS has stated that those who received these checks are not expected to return them, however, President Trump has remarked that he does believe the check should be returned. As of now, the Government Accountability Office is investigating the situation, and we will inform you as soon as we receive a definitive answer as to whether you may keep the check or not.

For now, the smartest thing to do is to keep the check, but do not spend it, deposit it, or otherwise. Depositing or spending the check does not mean that you won’t have to pay it back if the government decides the checks should be returned.

For any additional estate planning questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to our experienced New Jersey estate planning attorney today.

Contact Our Experienced New Jersey Firm

Juan C. Velasco, Esq. is a trusted attorney who concentrates on bankruptcy, family law, real estate, and estate matters who has been serving the New Jersey area for over 20 years. That is why we are confident we have what it takes to provide you with the effective legal counsel you need. If you need experienced legal counsel, please contact Velasco Law Office and we will be happy to assist you.