Can only one person cash a check for two people?

Written by kristen may
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Cashing a check that is written out as payable to two people can be more complicated than cashing a check written to just one person. This situation most commonly occurs when someone writes a personal check to a married couple. The procedure for cashing the check depends on how the names are joined on the check.

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One Person

One person can cash a check written out to two people if the names are separated by "or," "and/or", a comma or nothing. These conjunctions allow the bank or check cashing company to pay the amount on the check to either one of the people identified on the "payable to" line, regardless of whose name is written first.

Both People

Checks that do not contain the word "or" on the payee line must be endorsed by both individuals on the reverse side of the check. Most locations that cash checks on the spot will require that both individuals, along with their photo identifications, be present. Some examples of conjunctions between the names that require both people to be present include "and," "&" and "+."

Both Signatures

You might only need both signatures, instead of having both parties present, if you are depositing the check instead of cashing it. This is especially true if the account into which you are depositing the check is a joint account with both people's names on it. If you need to deposit a check that has the name of someone who is not on your account, call your bank and ask if that person needs to be present for the deposit or if an endorsement will be sufficient.

Solutions

In some cases, you might have a check written out to you and someone else but cannot get that person to sign the check. This could happen if the person is in jail, deceased or if you are not in contact with the person. In this situation, the easiest way to remedy it would be to return the check to the person who wrote it and ask that it be voided and reissued in your name only. Another option is to have a notarised power of attorney giving you the right to act on the other person's behalf.

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