Let's start with what is required by state laws, and then look at banks' policies. Under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), section 3-110(d), if a check is payable to more than one payee, and those payees' names are joined by the word "and" or an ampersand ("&"), the payees are said to be named "not alternatively." That means that to negotiate the check, all of the payees must endorse it.|
If the payees are listed and joined by the word "or," any one of the payees can negotiate the check without the endorsements of the other payees. If the payees are listed ambiguously (no "and" and no "or"), most states agree that they are named alternatively (only one endorsement required).
Even when the state's UCC provision would permit any one of the payees to endorse the check, a bank might have a strict policy requiring all joint payees to endorse, simply to avoid difficulties after the fact, so, there is no "standard" bank policy on the subject. You have to contact a bank to find out how they would handle the situation.
Published on BankingQuestions.com 12/05/07