When Is a Check Considered Stale Dated?

A check is generally considered stale dated if it was written more than six months prior to being presented to a bank or other financial institution. At this time, most banks have the option of refusing to deposit or cash the check, according to LegalMatch.

While banks in some states must consult the writer of the stale check before depositing or cashing it, checks never technically expire unless the person writing the check makes a note that it is only valid until a certain date. According to LegalMatch, certified checks are backed by financial institutions and may be processed at any time as they never go stale.

Todd Duvall of OpposingViews adds that a bank worker who accepts a stale-dated check may not have noticed the date. The bank may also opt to put a hold on the funds until the check clears to ensure the writer of the check still has the necessary funds in his bank account. Those in possession of a stale-dated personal check may wish to contact the owner of the account to receive an updated check rather than try to process the stale one. Many checks from larger businesses and government agencies must be processed within 90 or 180 days, or they become void. These validity dates are normally written on the checks themselves.