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Time to Return Check for Improper Endorsement

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How long does a bank have to return a check for improper endorsement?

If the return is being made for an anomalous endorsement (e.g., check payable to Harry Smith but endorsed by Zebulon Piker) you can return it without any sort of affidavit, by midnight of the business day following the date of presentment.

But if the midnight deadline has already passed, as is common with these cases, and you are processing a claim that the endorsement is forged, fraudulent, unauthorized or missing (and the payee has provided an affidavit to that effect that states the payee received no benefit for the check), you don't return the check, you file a claim with the depositary bank for breach of its presentment and transfer warranties under the UCC (the depositary bank warrants that its customer received credit for the check and, if it's endorsed, that all endorsements are genuine and authorized). That claim can be filed against depositary banks in Florida and Georgia (and perhaps a few other states) within one year, and in other states within three years.

First published on 5/7/12

First published on 05/07/2012

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