The minimum length of time you have to cash a personal check in every state, including California, is regulated by the federal government through the Uniform Commercial Code. Some banks, however, will allow an extended check-cashing period.
Federal Law Regulates Check Cashing
All U.S. banks are subject to federal code stating that a check can be declined after 180 days, or approximately six months, after it was written. California does not have any laws that extend or reduce this period.
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If More than 180 Days Have Passed
The issuing bank still has the option to cash or decline a personal check after 180 days have passed. Some banks will still honor a check in this case. Contact the issuing bank to see what their policy is before assuming the worst.
In Case of a Dispute
The owner of an account cannot claim that a check is invalid after 180 days unless a stop-payment request has been made. Without such a request, the check is good for as long as bank policy indicates.