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

In response to the financial crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, the government passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to provide relief for the people during this time. This is being done through a one-time payment of a certain amount depending on an individual or couple’s most recent tax return. Due to the pressure on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to get the payment out immediately, a few mistakes have been made in the process. One of these being stimulus checks delivered to individuals who are deceased. 

The public is receiving their stimulus check based on what was filed on either their 2018 or 2019 tax return. It is because of this that if a couple filed their taxes jointly and one spouse has passed away since then, there is a possibility that the IRS is not aware yet. The agency is supposed to check death records before making these payments but the records may not be fully updated. 

As a result, there are many people receiving checks for their deceased loved one. This leaves them wondering if they are required to give the money back. While the IRS has currency stated that they do not expect people to return the money if there was a mistake, President Trump stated that he does want the money to be returned. As of now, the matter is being investigated by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Until clear guidance is given by the IRS as to how these matters should be handled, it is advised to just hold onto the money. When dealing with these matters, it is important to know that the money can not necessarily be kept just because the check can be deposited.

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If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.

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