Do You Have to Return a Stimulus Payment Sent to a Deceased Family Member?

Ever since the CARES Act passed and coronavirus stimulus payments of up to $1,200 per adult started going out, people have been asking: What should one do if a stimulus check was sent to a dead person? No one is exactly sure how many family members of recently deceased people are in this situation.

On May 6, the government tried to clarify the question by stating that people who have died are not eligible for payments and any checks issued to a deceased person should be sent back. Until recently, many tax and legal experts had been under the impression that 2020 stimulus payments sent to dead people would probably not have to be returned, and it still is unclear what will happen if a stimulus payment is not returned.

Estate Planning Attorney Stacy DeShon shared instructions for returning a paper stimulus check with WGRT.  First, write “void” in the endorsement section on the back of the stimulus check. Then include a note stating the reason for returning the check. Mail the voided check back to the IRS.

If the payment was a paper check and you have cashed it, or if the payment was a direct deposit, submit a personal check or money order to the IRS. Make it payable to “U.S. Treasury”. In the memo section of the check or money order, write “2020EIP” and the deceased recipients taxpayer social security number. Include a brief explanation of the reason for returning the check.  Michigan residents may use the following address:

Kansas City Refund Inquiry Unit
333 W Pershing Rd
Mail Stop 6800, N-2
Kansas City, MO 64108

Reporting for WGRT – Marty Doorn