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My Check has the Wrong Last Name, Can I Cash It?

Recently I found out my long estranged and now deceased father listed me as beneficiary on a life insurance policy. The problem is he listed the wrong last name. I discussed this with the insurance company and they said there was no problem and I filed the claim listing my correct last name. They issued the check with the incorrect last name. Will a bank let me deposit this check if I prove I am the beneficiary even with the wrong last name?

There is a provision in the Uniform Commercial Code that addresses exactly this issue. If you are able to document to your bank's satisfaction that you are the person named on the check, in spite of the different last name, you should be able to deposit the check by endorsing the check twice, first with the name used on the check and then with your actual legal name. If your bank is unwilling to accept the check under those circumstances, you'll have no choice but to work the problem out with the insurance company.

Published on 3/09/07