Thanks for visiting us. It seems that there have been a number of
questions like yours over the past few months . . . someone must have
heisted a check-carrying armored truck, or something!
Unfortunately, if the check ever hits the bank, you will be
responsible for covering it.
A check is really, in part, an authorization from you, to the bank, to
withdraw the funds from your account - an account that you established
agreeing to keep money on deposit to honor those authorizations.
Remember that little card agreement you signed when you opened your
account? That agreement dealt with this issue.
The law on this question is contained in Article 4 of the Uniform
Commercial Code which has been adopted by every state: "A bank is
under no obligation to a customer having a checking account to pay a
check, other than a certified check, which is presented more than 6
months after its date, but it may charge its customer's account for a
payment made thereafter in good faith." Uniform Commercial Code,
Section 4-404. http://www.law.cornell.edu/ucc/4/article4.htm#s4-404
"Back in the day" there was a 6-month rule but that has been revised,
as you can see from this law.
The best one can hope for these days is that if you spend the money
that was sitting there, without collecting interest, but gathering
dust as the errant check is laying in the dust behind some bank
machinery, and then the check is found, processed, cleared and charged
to your (now insufficiently funded) account - maybe the bank, if
asked, would waive the NSF fee - but they don't have to.
Now, you could stop payment on the check or close the account as a
means of protecting yourself. A stop payment order would be the best
way to protect yourself from NSF charges - but if the dust-covered
check did show up, hit the stop-payment order and bounced back to the
store, you would have to make it good at that time with the store.
A Stop Payment Order is your protection if it ever does show up.
With all of this said, there is a statute of limitation on such
actions, 4 years ? but for the limitation defense to be used, most
legal practitioners would agree that the account would have to have
been closed for 4 years. THEN, if the check showed up after 4 years,
you might avoid liability to the bank. Of course, if the bank charged
the check back to the place that you gave the check to, you might be
faced with a collection action from them as well. Again, the 4 year
limitation defense could be asserted.
I suppose, though, if the check hasn?t been charged against your
account after 6-12 months, you?ll probably never see it. BUT, stranger
things have happened.
AGAIN, a stop payment order is your best protection. If the check
ever does show up, it?ll hit the Stop Payment Order and then you will
have an opportunity to make it good.
Best of luck! Any questions? Hit the CLARIFICATION button.
Uniform Commercial Code
Texas + ?period of limitation? or ?statute of limitation?