My roommate died. Who do I make the security deposit check out to?
March 25, 2010 7:13 PM   Subscribe

My roommate died. Who do I make the security deposit check out to?

My roommate died 3 days before he was supposed to move out. His rent was paid up, and he owed me was gas and electric from his last month here. He also owed me for a small amount of damage to his room that MY landlord is going to hold me to. We had actually discussed the damage the night before he died. I am taking this out of the security deposit, but since everything else was paid, and he was set to leave, money from his deposit is due back to him. Or his estate? I don't know.

I have been dealing with his mother (she came up the next day to collect his things). She gave me her contact information, and I assured her that the deposit would be returned to her as soon as I knew what the amount would be, less utilities owed, and whatever the cost of the repair to the damage would be. I will be providing her documentation for all deductions (I have worked in accounting, and am obsessive about such things). I don't anticipate any trouble from the family. I am planning on mailing it certified/return receipt so I know they got it and they know I'm on top of it.

So, who do I make the check out to? My dead roommate? Or mom? My roommate and I are (were?) both adults in our 30s. I am in NYC, leaseholder for the apartment, he subleased the room from me, and we had written agreements for everything (see about the obsessive about such things?) Mom is in Georgia.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
To: The Estate of _______.

I have it happen at work sometimes.

Or, if you are quite certain that she is his heir, make it out directly to her.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:16 PM on March 25, 2010


Write the check to him. His estate will cash it.
posted by dfriedman at 7:18 PM on March 25, 2010


SLC Mom is correct, it's now due to his estate. You make the cheque out to The Estate of John Smith.
posted by Dasein at 7:19 PM on March 25, 2010


The Estate Of. You can just make it out in his name and that will work, too. Don't make it out to any heirs; you don't have any way to be sure you know who they are.
posted by Nelson at 7:21 PM on March 25, 2010


As dfriedman says, his estate could also deposit a cheque made out to him. But don't make it out to his mother; it's up to the estate trustee to see that the heirs are paid, not you.
posted by Dasein at 7:22 PM on March 25, 2010


Make the check out to his mom, unless he has some sort of complicated will (which I doubt). It will make life easier for her.
posted by HuronBob at 7:24 PM on March 25, 2010


I work for an estate attorney (in New York state). I agree with everyone who says the check should be made out to the roommate, or to the roommate's estate. Either way, the check can be deposited into an estate account. Don't make it out to the mother, you don't know if she's the distributee.
posted by Lucinda at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2010


You make it out to the estate. I am a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer. Your job is not to determine who his heirs are. That is for the Personal Representative or Executor.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:04 PM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I disagree. If you make it out to the estate, and they don't open an estate, they cannot cash the check. I would check with the mother first to see if they will open an estate. If there is no estate, then make it payable to the nearest relatives.

In my state, there are procedures for getting money to the heirs when there is a small amount involved, without opening an estate.
posted by yclipse at 4:58 AM on March 26, 2010


I disagree. If you make it out to the estate, and they don't open an estate, they cannot cash the check. I would check with the mother first to see if they will open an estate. If there is no estate, then make it payable to the nearest relatives.

In my state, there are procedures for getting money to the heirs when there is a small amount involved, without opening an estate



DO NOT LISTEN TO yclipse:

Michigan probate code:
700.1104 Definitions; E to H.
Sec. 1104.

As used in this act:

(b) "Estate" includes the property of the decedent, trust, or other person whose affairs are subject to this act as the property is originally constituted and as it exists throughout administration. Estate also includes the rights described in sections 3805, 3922, and 7502 to collect from others amounts necessary to pay claims, allowances, and taxes.


That's all of the property of the decedent. Includes your money. Don't listen to non-lawyers on this.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:32 PM on March 26, 2010


The disposition of your roommate's assets (which includes his security deposit) is not necessarily up to his mother, and it's not your job to make sure she's his sole heir. Make the check out to his estate.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:50 PM on March 26, 2010


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