(a) Whenever any person dies intestate having possession of or a right to possession of a check or other instrument payable to such deceased person and the amount of the check or instrument does not exceed $15,000.00, the financial institution on which the check or instrument is drawn shall be authorized to accept and redeem the check or instrument by payment to the following persons:
(1) To the surviving spouse;
(2) If no surviving spouse, to the children pro rata;
(3) If no children or surviving spouse, to the father and mother pro rata; or
(4) If none of the above, then to the brothers and sisters of the decedent pro rata.
(b) If a check or other instrument is payable to more than one person, it may be accepted and redeemed as provided in subsection (a) of this Code section only if it has been endorsed by each payee other than the decedent.
(c) Payments made pursuant to this Code section shall operate as a complete acquittal and discharge to the financial institution of liability from any suit, claim, or demand of whatever nature by any heir, distributee, creditor of the decedent, or any other person. Such payment is authorized to be made as provided in this Code section without the necessity of administration of the estate of the decedent and without the necessity of obtaining an order that no administration is necessary.
(d) As used in this Code section, the term “financial institution” includes any federally chartered financial institution.
(e) Application by any claimant or claimants entitled in this Code section to receive payments of checks or other instruments at a financial institution upon which such instrument is drawn shall include an affidavit by the claimant or claimants which states that they qualify as the proper relation to the decedent as specified in this Code section and that the claimant or claimants know of no other corresponding claimant or claimants to such funds. The financial institution may rely on a properly executed affidavit in disbursing the funds according to this Code section.
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