Do I Have to Give Back a Stimulus Check For my Deceased Spouse?

As a result of the financial hardship caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the government passed and signed a $2 trillion stimulus package to provide relief to those in need. This is being sent to individuals across the country in the form of a one time payment of a certain amount. Due to the pressure put on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to get the payment out to people as soon as possible, there have been a few mistakes made in the process. This includes stimulus checks being delivered to people who have died. 

The stimulus checks that are being sent to people are based on their 2018 or 2019 tax return. If a couple filed their taxes jointly and one spouse has since passed away, there is a chance that the IRS does not know this yet. While the agency is supposed to check death records before making the payments, the records may not be fully updated. 

So, this begs the question: what do you do if you receive a check for a deceased loved one? Do you have to give the money back? As of now, the IRS has stated that they do not expect people to return the money if a mistake was made distributing the check. However, President Trump stated that he does want the money to be returned. The matter is currently being investigated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As of now, it is advised to simply hold onto the money until clear guidance is issued by the IRS about if the money should be refunded or not. It is important to know that just because the check can be deposited does not necessarily mean that the money can be kept. 

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Working with an experienced estate planning attorney, such as Jaci Feldman of the Woodland Hills, California, Law Office of Yacoba Ann Feldman, will ensure that you are taken care of when you need it most. Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation today.

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