Man struggles to collect refund check addressed to late partner

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 11:14 AM CDT
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An Omaha homeowner not only receives a tax break but a refund from the county. Great news in these troubling times except he can’t cash the check.

For Robert Levermann, setting the record straight is about life and death.

“You know how do I get a dead guy’s name off of a check,” said Leverman.

After approval for homestead exemption, Robert got a nearly eleven hundred dollar tax refund from Douglas County. But the treasurer’s check is made out to his late partner Richard Grover who first owned the home before they took out a mortgage together.

You can see the confusion in writing that checks made out to Richard Grover who passed away 16-months ago came in an envelope from the Register of Deeds addressed to Robert Levermann.

Register of Deeds Diane Battiato researched the issue and found Robert and Richard shared ownership but didn’t include rights of survivorship. Also, there’s no will.

County Treasurer John Ewing says probate court needs to declare Richard as heir to the property. Legal action Richard can’t afford but he needs that refund check.

“It’s of real importance because I can send it back to the mortgage company and then my house payment will go back down,” said Leverman.

The treasurer says when Richard provides proof he’s the rightful heir the county will cut a check in his name.

“All the letters I got comes to me, even for the homestead exemption but the check,” said Leverman.

Robert discovered his partner’s death didn’t make it certain that he’d get a refund on taxes.

Douglas County Assessor and Register of Deeds Diane Battiato says anyone who shares ownership should have a written right of survivorship. That way records will show they own 100 percent of the property. She says this case points out the importance of using a title company.