Signing Checks
What liability do I have as a check signer for my church?

Question:
Does the person who signs checks but has no official staff or board position in the ministry have any responsibility if anything goes wrong financially? I am not talking about writing illegal checks, but rather, if the corporation does something wrong or is accused of financial misconduct, can someone who is simply a volunteer be held responsible?

Answer:
In general, a person who signs a check on behalf of a church or ministry will not be held personally liable for a check that bounces, as long as they are unaware that the bank account has insufficient funds to cover the check amount.

In legal terms, checks fall into the category of "negotiable instruments, " and the law that governs the liability for people who sign checks and other negotiable instruments is found in the Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC.

Employees and volunteers who sign checks on behalf of a church or ministry are considered representatives of the organization for purposes of negotiable instrument liability. Check signers, in their roles as representatives of the ministry, do have a measure of protection against claims made by recipients of checks that are drawn on the organization's bank account.

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Posted: February 6, 2009
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