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We just recently had a baby and gifts have been filtering in. An elderly aunt of mine sent us a somewhat large money order of a few hundred dollars, but addressed it to our child. I was reviewing the answers to this question, but I'm not sure they're really applicable because this is a money order and I'd like to not open a bank account for my baby.

I specifically want to know if I'm able to deposit the check into me and my spouse's joint account. If possible, I would prefer to not be opening a bank account for someone who barely opens her eyes.

What would be the steps to do this? Or would we have to return the money order to my aunt and ask her to resend it addressed to either myself or my spouse?

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I signed the checks "JoeTaxpayer, parent" and never had an issue with my bank. Note, I am in the US, and my experience may just be with my particular bank.

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  • I've edited tags on the OP to indicate that this is in the US. Can you advise if your answer is applicable considering the country? – Pyrotechnical Aug 28 '17 at 2:35
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    Yes, and stick it in the ATM or do a mobile deposit. It won't be an issue. – Rocky Aug 28 '17 at 15:33
  • Can you advise on what time frame that was? What worked 20 years ago vs what happens today might be very different. – Pyrotechnical Aug 29 '17 at 14:43
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    My daughter is nearly 19. I started doing this after she was born, but made the last deposit this way a few weeks ago when she left me a check to cash. I deposited via phone app, as I described in my answer and gave her cash. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Aug 29 '17 at 19:56
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    In my state, MA, UGMA rules consider her "under age" until 21. Mobile deposit has only been available to me the last few years. From the time she was an infant till about 15, this was done at the bank. With never an issue. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Sep 2 '17 at 11:47
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Congratulations on the new arrival! Technically, a gift by check to the baby should be deposited into a newly established custodial account in the baby's name. To open one, you will need to have a SSN for the baby, so don't wait till tax time to request one (you will need the SSN if you wish to claim the baby as a dependent on your 2017 income tax returns). On the other hand, people are often cavalier about this and at least one bank (JoeTaxpayer's!) seems not to care about the legal niceties; I expect my bank wouldn't have either, in the good old days. Note that @JoeTaxpayer and I are of similar age, and perhaps he too is recounting experiences from some time ago.

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  • Technically, yes, this is correct, which is why I don't recommend walking into the bank and trying to deposit it in person. Based on a very similar experience, a lot of needless paperwork can be avoided with the ATM. – Rocky Aug 28 '17 at 15:36
  • Please note that I am specifically seeking answers that do not require me to open a custodial account for the baby. If the answer could be modified to cite some rule or law that makes that untenable, I think it would be greatly improved. – Pyrotechnical Sep 13 '17 at 12:35
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    @Pyrotechnical Thank you for the down vote. What you are asking to do is technically illegal; monetary gifts to a child are supposed to be the child's property and cannot be put into a parent's account where the money might/will get used for the child's support (or other household experiences). It is unlikely that you will be prosecuted for putting the money into your own account. indeed, I have done so myself in the past for small cash gifts, but I scrupulously made annual deposits into the child's account to more than cover any such gifts. Your personal feelings about this are your concern. – Dilip Sarwate Sep 13 '17 at 16:33
  • Can you cite a law or rule that explains that it is illegal? I can remove the downvote then. – Pyrotechnical Sep 13 '17 at 16:53
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    @Pyrotechnical The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and possibly the UTMA as well. – Dilip Sarwate Sep 13 '17 at 17:05
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I'm going to give the checkmark to Joe, but I wanted to convey my personal experience. I bank with TD in New Jersey and was informed by the teller that I simply needed to endorse the check myself and indicate Parent of Minor. I cannot attest if other banks will accept this, but it at least works for TD and my situation in particular.

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