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This is a very unusual situation, but I've encountered it several times with this one particular bank that my husband and his parents have a joint checking account with. We did all his parents' finances and occasionally, when they received a check instead of direct deposit, we'd put "For Deposit Only" & the account number on the back of the check to deposit it into their joint account. The bank refused to deposit it unless whoever it was made payable to endorsed it as well. They said it was because it was made out to one person and there were others on the account that could withdraw money from the account, so endorsing it acknowledged that the payee still wanted to deposit the money, knowing others could take the money out.

Excuse me, but wasn't that the purpose of all of them going in together to set up the account and sign that they knew any one of them could withdraw money or sign the checks? That was the purpose of setting up a joint account, so they all would have access. Why do they have to endorse every check every time they want to deposit it? They've already established it's ok to allow the others access. The bank says the law requires it, but no other bank does this. If that were the case, why can I deposit checks written to my husband into our joint account (at a different bank) that I just write "for deposit only & our acct. # ?" I used to work in a bank, and the only time we had to have them endorse it was if they were getting cash back.

So here's the unusual situation: My father-in-law, who received VA benefits, died in December. His wife qualified to receive his last benefit check for the month after his death. Instead of it being direct deposited into their account, she had to apply to the VA to receive it. She was going to use it for his funeral costs. But she died in February! The VA sent her a check, payable to her, in March. I asked the bank if my husband could deposit the check into their account (all 3 were still on the account) if he put for deposit only. After all, it was money that was rightly owed to her and was meant to help pay for their funerals. Her check > Her account, right? They said no, not without her endorsement.

Please tell me there's a way around this. They had no other assets, so no lawyer was used to settle their estate. My husband would have been the executor if we had. He had been their Power of Attorney, but the bank said that ended with their deaths. I hate dealing with the VA, and the local office said they aren't sure they would reissue the check to her son if she had died... even if she had been alive when she should have gotten it, and it rightly belonged in her account.

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    I'm sorry, this is very hard to read. You might want to edit this for brevity and make the question very clear. – Rocky Apr 3 '15 at 18:32
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    I think you should talk to an attorney about this; even if she had no other property to her name or estate otherwise, this check is her estate certainly, and would need to be dealt with as such. – Joe Apr 3 '15 at 19:12
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    Sorry Rocky, my brain is fried dealing with this...basically, why can't someone deposit a ck written to one person into a joint acct they own with others w/o having to endorse it? By opening the acct jointly with someone, aren't they taking responsibility for any deposits made, knowing any of them could w/d $? It's actually easier to take the $ out than put the money in, so how does that prevent elder abuse? Other banks let me deposit cks written to both me & my husband or just my husband, so long as I deposit it all. – FrustratedInNY Apr 3 '15 at 23:01
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    When you have a joint account two people have access to the money in that account. It doesn't give one person full control over the 2nd persons money. Imagine a joint account for a parent and their college age child. The college student can't take the parents paycheck and deposit it into the joint account without the parent endorsing it. – mhoran_psprep Apr 3 '15 at 23:11
  • A good example, mhoran, but it defeats the purpose of setting up a joint acct. My mother has me on her account, in case something happens to her. Now I see that I'll be able to draw from her acct., but if I have to deposit checks to get more $ in the acct., I won't be able to. If you can't trust the person to have access to your money, why are you setting up a joint acct with them? It IS giving both people control over both their money, so the bank should offer a different account if they only want to allow limited access. Parents can give their college student a debit card instead. – FrustratedInNY Apr 4 '15 at 3:40
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Why do they have to endorse every check every time they want to deposit it?

They told you why.

They said it was because it was made out to one person and there were others on the account that could withdraw money from the acct., so endorsing it acknowledged that the payee still wanted to deposit the money, knowing others could take the $ out

The reason they insist on it may have something to do with their responsibility in case of elder abuse. They are worried that you may be using your parents' money without their knowledge, and if it ends up being true and they didn't enforce the requirement - they may also be liable.

I have a joint account with my spouse, and they do not let us deposit checks written to both of us unless we both endorse. This is similar, and stems from the same concern.

So here's the unusual situation

In case of a death of a joint account holder - the whole account is frozen until the estate is executed. You cannot deposit a check of a deceased person to such an account.

  • "In case of a death of a joint account holder - the whole account is frozen until the estate is executed." I know this is an old question but you might want to add this is not always the case, it depends if the joint account has a right of survivorship, or a transfer on death clause. Regardless though this would not make it easier to deposit a check, if anything it would make it harder. So this is correct. – Vality May 13 at 19:06
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Okay, I went through a similar situation when my mother died in March of this year. The estate still needs to go into probate. Especially if there was a will. And when you do this, your husband will be named as the executor. Then what he will need to do is produce both of their death certificates to the bank, have the account closed, and open an estate account with both of their names on it. Their debts & anything like this should be paid from this account as well. Then what you can do is endorse the check as the executor and deposit it into this account. After all debts are paid, the money can be disbursed to the beneficiaries (your husband). Basically, as long as they didn't have any huge debts to pay, he will see the money again. It just may be a couple of months. And you will have to pay some filing fees.

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I have seen this happen with IRS checks, the bank told me that the IRS imposes the requirement. Otherwise, though, I have frequently deposited checks made out to my wife into a joint checking account without her signature, they have never cared one bit.

  • This really doesn't attempt to answer the question. It is just a personal anecdote. – JohnFx Apr 3 '15 at 23:06
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    I know people try to collect checks after death of the payee. But his parents thought their son could take care of their acct. after their death. Now you've brought up that the acct. will be frozen. The only asset they had was the $ in the acct to pay the last nursing home bill. If a lawyer has to be hired to "settle the estate," there will be no assets or estate to settle. If the bank let us deposit this last ck, we could pay the nursing home & a small part of their funeral costs, close the acct. & be done. We'd be better to walk away & let the nursing home try to get their $! – FrustratedInNY Apr 4 '15 at 4:03
  • It's a bit late for us to suggest you should have planned ahead. Come up with transitional funds from somewhere; take a loan if you have to... But redeeming thus check, if possible, is going to take time. – keshlam Aug 4 '16 at 14:53

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