My mother-in-law died in March. She was in a Medicaid-funded nursing home. Her only assets were a checking account held jointly with my wife and an irrevocable burial reserve account. Since the checking account was joint the funds passed directly to my wife. However, after funeral expenses were paid there was about $600 left in the burial reserve. The bank will only issue a check to my MIL’s estate. My wife is named executor in the will, but without the short certificate from the probate court she can’t deposit or cash the check. My MIL’s lawyer says between fees and required public notices the cost of probate will likely use up most or all of the $600.
To complicate matters, my MIL was a resident of (and died in) Pennsylvania. We live in Arizona, so a quick run to the courthouse isn’t in the cards.
Is there any way to get access to that $600? Or does the bank get a nice gift?