What is the correct way for a wife, with her husband’s permission, to endorse (sign for deposit) his work check into her bank account?
With a power of attorney in place you can sign your own signature and print the following below: [your husbands name] by [your name] as Attorney In Fact
If you endorse a lot of checks, it might be worth the investment to get a rubber stamp made that has the printed portion. I did that while my brother was overseas for a lengthy military deployment and mostly I did it because people felt like the stamp was more official, so I didn't have to do as much explaining all the time.
Be ready with a copy of the power of attorney for any who ask. Many institutions will make a photocopy to keep on file the first time you do this.
What you are describing may be forgery, which is a felony in most states. Only the payee can endorse a check. For anyone other than the payee to endorse a check is a serious crime and you can be sent to jail for it. Having a "joint account" is irrelevant. A joint account just lets multiple parties withdraw money from the same account. A joint account in no way allows one person to sign legal documents for the other parties in the account.
The only way to sign for someone else is if you have a valid POWER OF ATTORNEY. A power of attorney is a legal document that gives a person the power to legally act in lieu of another person. Normally a power of attorney is notarized and and gives specific powers. If you create a power of attorney, it would be wise to have a lawyer draft it, because if you make a mistake you can become liable for serious criminal charges.
If you have a power of attorney authorizing you to receive payments made out to another party, you would endorse a check by writing "For John Smith, Dawn Smith, by power of attorney" or something similar. You would have to present the power of attorney at the bank at the time the check is deposited for the bank to accept it.
If it's also his bank account (a joint account), no endorsement is necessary. Simply print or stamp "for deposit only" in the area where you would normally sign to endorse, and deposit it. I never endorse checks; aside from it being a nuisance and waste of time, it also results in the payer receiving a copy of your signature along with their bank statement, which is not something you might want anyone you've received a check from to have.
If the bank does not accept "for deposit only" checks into a joint account, but does accept them into a single-individual account, one solution might be having two accounts and simply transferring the money via online banking once the deposit is made.
First: I recommend simply calling the bank in question and asking as this may be bank policy dependant.
That said, it's almost certainly simple (at least in the US), assuming you are putting it into his account or a joint account. If it's a separate account, he will need to use "special endorsement" to endorse it to the wife, but he will have to sign. Do not try to deposit it into a personal account that he is not on with someone else's signature.
if husband's name is on the account
I live outside the US, but do a lot of work in the US. I often have checks sent to me at a family member's house in the US which is in a different state from my bank. The instructions my bank gave to me to allow them to mail the check to the bank were:
print your name and write below that "FOR DEPOSIT ONLY" and your account number and we can make the deposit for you
here "your" should refer to the person the check is written to (so in this case "your" is the husband).
This has worked for several checks without trouble.
if husband is not on the account
He needs to endorse it to you. So he writes on the back:
pay to the order of
If you do not have a power of attorney like the answers listed above, the closest you can get to do this is have him deposit the check and then write you a check for the same amount. You can also have him cash the check and give you the money.
Also, if you do decide to get the power of attorney, you need to tell the bank because they have to edit the account to show you as the power of attorney. Just showing up with the check at the drive-thru with the check and the POA will not do. After filing it with the bank, then you just have to show your license, like you should have to anyway, when you go to deposit checks.