We are in the middle of “tax season” and many people are anticipating a tax refund. What happens if a loved one dies and a tax refund check in their name arrives? In certain cases, Florida probate law covers such an issue.
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If the person that is to receive a tax refund is dead, regardless of whether the person filed separately or jointly (with their spouse), and the amount of the refund check is no more than $2500, the refund is handled, according to Florida Statute 735.302, as follows:
1. Directly to the surviving spouse with verification of marriage and a death certificate; or
2. If there is no surviving spouse, the refund would go to a child of the decedent who is designated in a verified application purporting to be executed by all of the decedent’s children over the age of 14.
The verified application must show that the person who passed away was not indebted, that provisions have been made to pay any debts, or that the entire estate is exempt from the claims of creditors, and that no administration of the estate, including a summary administration, has been initiated and that none is planned, to the knowledge of the applicant.
If a refund is made to the surviving spouse or designated child after application has been made, this acts as a complete discharge to the government from being liable to any beneficiary or other person from any demand or claim by any beneficiary or other person.