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How to Open an Estate Account

A friend of mine is the administrator of his wife's estate. A check was issued to him, but he is having complications cashing it. There is no estate account. How does one open an estate account?


To open an estate account, the personal representative ("executor" or "administrator" is often the legal term used) should bring a certified copy of his court appointment to the bank, along with standard photo identification. If he has a bank account already himself, it would be wise to go to the same bank.

If he believes this is the only check he'll receive as administrator of the estate, his bank may suggest that he endorse it as administrator, making it payable to himself, and then deposit it into his own account, if he's the only beneficiary. Otherwise, his bank should be willing to open the estate account. He should apply to the IRS for and receive a taxpayer identification number for the estate before going to the bank, if he has to open an account. That can be done over the Internet. He'll need his late wife's Social Security number to complete the application.

Published on 1/27/09