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Please accept my condolences for the passing of your mother in law.
Your wife can negotiate the check into an account held by her mother's estate (or placed into the joint account, but accounted for as part of the estate). The check itself can be negotiated so long as the funds are available to be distributed under the terms of her mother's will, trust, or probate (if necessary depending on the valuation of her estate).
Here is a very helpful publication by the Georgia Judicial Branch that can help your wife as she negotiates how to go about dealing with her mother's estate: http://www.gaprobate.org/loved_one.php
I hope the above is helpful, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask and I will follow up directly.
Thank you for choosing Just Answer, please do not forget to rate my response. I am going to transfer our conversation to our "Q&A" format to ensure that you are able to read my response and that I can respond to any questions you may have. I wish you and your wife the very best.
All funds currently in the joint account are already being accounted for, and will continue to be accounted for, as part of her mother's estate (voluntarily, though not by court order). In the absence of a will, and in the case of what I assume would be a very low valuation of her mother's estate, to what degree would official court involvement be required?
Thank you so much Bill!
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