Endorsing Checks With Two Names After Marriage

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As many of you know, I recently got married to the love of my life (awwww!) and had a wonderful wedding and reception this past weekend. Everyone had a blast, we had a blast, and all in all I think the entire weekend went very very well considering the magnitude (both in size and importance!). Anyway, with a wedding comes gifts and some gave a gift in the form of a check.

Why is this worth mentioning? As you can probably tell from the title, the tricky part was in the fact that the checks were made out to my name and my wife’s name. That, in and of itself, is not big deal except they put it in my wife’s new (and, dare I say, better) name, which is not the name on our joint account. So, in the eyes of both the state and the bank, one of the person’s listed on the “Pay To The Order Of” line doesn’t actually exist. So, what were we to do? There are in fact two solutions.

Change Account Name

One solution is to change her name from her maiden name to her new (better) name and all we need for that is the marriage certificate. With the account name changed, she would simply sign the back of the checks in her new name and be done with it.

Double Endorse The Check

The other, far easier, solution would be for her to sign the check twice: first with her new name (name on the check), then with her old name (name on the account). While this struck me as a bit shady, it seemed to be the typical result. If the two names were in fact two different people, this is how we would’ve signed the checks to deposit them into the account. When she signed her new name, she was endorsing the check for deposit anywhere (you can write, “For Deposit Only” on the check to force it into an account your name only). It seemed tricky but the Bank of America tellers (two at two different branches) seemed to think that was business as usual and an accepted practice. Either way, no one will be disputing the deposits so it’s no big deal either way.

After those shenanigans, I needed to sign the check in order to deposit it. If a check has two names (with an “and” between them, rather than an “or”), both have to endorse the check before it can be cashed, deposited, etc.

{ 41 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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41 Responses to “Endorsing Checks With Two Names After Marriage”

  1. Di Di says:

    Quickly, Still married same last name but seperated…reuissed check from last job came to me in the mail from big company. Can I present it to my bank if I add his name to my account? What info will they need to add him?

  2. kenny says:

    my daughter and son in law received an irs refund check made out mr and mrs with both first names included and the check had “and” not”or” bank of america allowed him to deposit the check with just his signature and withdraw the funds the following day. my daughter had no knowledge of this transaction and he refuses to give her the money they are separated without a legal separation yet.does she have recourse with the bank since this was a joint bank account and did the check require both signatures

    • me says:

      if it’s a joint account, only one of the parties that the check is mad out to needs to sign it to deposit it, sorry 🙁

  3. K. Sue McEwen says:

    I have gone by my middle name socially forever, but by my formal first name professionally and on legal documents. I also kept my maiden name when I got married so I have checks written out to me in a variety of permutations of the possible combinations. My banks have the aliases on file and recognize all if them. If you are listed as Katherine Margaret Jones Smith then both Katie Jones and Maggie Smith can cash checks easily!

  4. Anonymous says:

    take the check back to the writer and have it done over.

    • LKH says:

      You’re obviously not married Dororhy. More than 70 out of 100+ checkes we received as gifts were made out in a variety of ways: Mr & Mrs H, Mrs K and Mr H, or just my name or just his name.

  5. dorothy smith says:

    just have the check done over

    • LKH says:

      You can’t return a gift dorothy. I just always make out the check to one of the people getting married vs. the couple so they can deposit it right away. And it’s silly of people to assume that women will be changing their last name! ….sometimes both do.

  6. Paul says:

    My partner and I just got married (two men). We received several checks made out to both of us – we both endorsed them. I tried to deposit them into my account. The tellers – 2 of them – refused, telling me that they could not be sure that his signature was really his – despite the fact that we additionally wrote his account number on the back of the check so they could verify it. Their solution was for us to open a joint account (more monthly fees?) otherwise we both had to go to the bank so that they could verify our signatures (notary?). This is unheard of – would this happen to a straight couple? It is hard not to wonder out loud!

    • Sophie says:

      Paul, I sympathize. We’re a straight couple and a similar thing happened to us. We got married and they would not accept the checks with “AND” between our names or the ones with my new last name, since we do not have a joint account. good luck to you, and congratulations!

  7. George Huebschman says:

    My wife and I have just had a State Government check made out to both of us returned by the bank. We are told that since it is made out to both of us we need to come into the bank in person, even though we both endorsed it.

    I had long thought that marriage was legally similar to the rules of a legal simple business partnership, where each party had the same legal authority as every other.

    Even though I am not on her account, I have endorsed it, I don’t see what the problem is.

  8. cvargo says:

    Wow I can’t believe all the issues people had. My wife and i got married a little over a year ago. And like most we had alot of Checks with both our names, just mine or just hers. I signed the ones with both and the ones with mine, she signed hers (with her new last name). I took them into our credit union that I have had for years she was at home and they deposited all of them. Even with her name not changed at the bank yet. I wasn’t expecting any problems at my credit union and i didn’t have any. Makes me wonder if i should be okay with that or not okay with the fact that the ‘rules’ weren’t followed.

  9. jag says:

    I recently embezzled several hundred thousand dollars and need to deposit it into my girlfriends account so no one knows I stole the money, what’s the best way to do this? Thanks, jag!

  10. cjrube says:

    my husband has his name and or son name but it doe not say and or what is the rules for that

  11. Zippo says:

    I was told at one time when a husband & wife have checks printed with their name on them there is a correct way to do so. It is either supposed to have “or” in between the two names or you have to make sure it says nothing in between them. Can anyone shed any light on this for me? I believe doing it the correct way can save legal ramifications down the road if there was ever a question of divorce.

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