Parents and legal guardians are able to endorse checks and savings bonds on behalf of minor children. However, they often need to include a signed statement verifying their relationship with the child and their intentions. As an alternative to cashing the check, parents can open up a bank account for their minor child or open a joint bank account.
In most cases, parents can cash checks made out to minor children with the proper documentation. According to the U.S. Department of State, the parent of a minor who provides chief support to the minor may endorse a check. In some cases, the parent or supporter must present a signed statement that contains the age of the child and his or her residence, and asserts that the proceeds will be used for the minor's benefit.
In addition to endorsing personal checks for your minor child, you can also cash his or her bonds. The U.S. Department of the Treasury allows parents to redeem a child's savings bonds if the child is too young to sign or if the parent has legal custody of the child. Parents should include a formal request with the bond certifying that they have legal custody and that the child is too young to make the request him or herself.
Opening a Bank Account
As an alternative to cashing a check on behalf of a child, you can use it to set up a bank account. Many banks allow minors to set up bank accounts, but require a parent to be a cosigner on the account. If your bank doesn't have an account specifically designed for minors, you can open a joint checking or savings account. Not only will this make it easier to cash the child's checks in the future, it gives him or her an opportunity to save money and learn about banking.
If you're attempting to endorse a child's check or bond or open a new account, it's best to call the bank ahead of time so you don't go home frustrated. The U.S. Department of State and Treasury outline specific regulations for these transactions, but exact policies and procedures differ by bank.