Checks uncashed and undeposited until after the death of their maker consitute a failed gift requiring the recipient to return the

proceeds. A recent ruling from Nassau County’s Surrogate’s Court in the matter of the Estate of Patricia Colletta Ross, 328416, Surrogate’s Court, Surrogate Riordan directed the return of $46,000 received in two checks by the decedent’s mother . The checks were issued the day before the decedent’s death and were deposited shortly afterwards.

The court cited the prevailing rule that a check is not valid until accepted by the donor’s bank. Since a check becomes invalid at the death of the donor, the gift became incomplete when the daughter died and their proceeds constituted assets of her estate which were ordered returned to the petitioner.