I found an old un-cashed check dated 1994 for $487 from my Xerox Retirement plan with no expiration date. Can I still cash it?

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    A nearly infinite number of banks have merged and/or gone out of business in the last 20 years. The routing and account number on the check may no longer be valid. If you try to deposit it and fail, your bank may charge you a fee. Better to request a re-issue if you can. – user1731 Oct 14 '14 at 18:39

Checks (in the US, anyway) are only good for six months after they have been written. After that. under the US Uniform Commerical Code they are considered "stale checks" and banks need not accept them. My experience is that they generally won't -- but you probably shouldn't count on that, either when figuring out whether to try depositing an old check or figuring out how much cash you need to keep in your checking account to cover recent stale checks.

The check you now hold is certainly a statement of intent to pay you and thus is a useful document to supplement other evidence that they still owe you the money -- but since checks can be cancelled and/or a replacement check may have been issued, its value for that purpose may be limited.

You can try depositing it and see what happens. If that doesn't work (or you don't want to bother trying it) you can contact the retirement plan, point out that this check went uncashed, and ask them to send you a replacement. If they haven't already done so (you might want to check your own records for that), there shouldn't be any problem with this.

(Note: Many business checks have a statement printed on them that they're only good for 90 days or so. If yours does, you can skip trying to cash it; just contact the retirement plan offices.)

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    this is not entirely correct. Check is an obligation, which never expires. What you refer to is called "stale check", which means a bank may not cash it. However, the issuer is still obligated to pay the amount. It is definitely not "just a piece of paper". – littleadv Oct 12 '14 at 4:33
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    It is possible they already replaced the check after it went stale. I had an employer do that once. – mhoran_psprep Oct 12 '14 at 9:47
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    @liddleadv: Not so, I'm afraid. The check is certainly an indication that at one time they intended to pay you something. It is NOT an indication that you were not paid (a replacement check might have been cut), or that they didn't change their minds for whatever reason and cancel the check. If you want to sue, it might be helpful but it will NOT be your main piece of evidence. – keshlam Oct 12 '14 at 21:08
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    Suing an company over an old check that you forgot to deposit is rather a waste of time unless the amount can justify the time and effort. Still they have a valid point that they lived up to their obligation by issuing it, and you failed in yours by not cashing it in a timely manner. A company's more likely to honor it and issue a new one simply to avoid the negative publicity it could bring if you were enterprising enough to use social media to make an issue of it. – Daniel Anderson Jun 27 '16 at 1:44
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    @littleadv A cheque is not of itself an obligation. You write a cheque because you believe you have an obligation (or wish to make a payment for some other reason). But if the obligation goes away (because it turns out the work you thought was performed actually wasn't) then the obligation goes away, and having written a cheque doesn't re-create it. This is evidenced by the fact that a cheque can be cancelled. – DJClayworth May 30 '19 at 21:32

In California, dormant accounts, including uncashed insurance and dividend checks, escheat to the State and can be claimed from the Custodian for unclaimed property. There is no time limit. My wife claimed a years-old stock dividend this way.

This assumes that the money is still owed. If the retirement account is still active, or was closed/rolled over with the entire balance cashed out, it really doesn't make much difference since you either still have or already received the amount of the uncashed check.

Your jurisdiction probably has something similar.

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