Structuring, personal checks between family

My MIL gave us $15,000 for Christmas, in the form of a personal check. My wife and I have a joint account at my bank, Navy Federal. I couldn’t deposit the check there for a variety of reasons, which were: I couldn’t use the app because it won’t accept deposits over $10,000, the ATM at work “isn’t accepting deposits at this time” and the branch there is closed for renovation. There are no other branches I can get to conveniently. I never thought it would be this hard to just accept money!

Anyways, my wife deposited the $15k in her personal checking account with Bank of America, then wrote me two checks, one for $8000 and another for $7000, so I could deposit them via the app.

Will depositing these trigger a suspicious activity report? Should I just play it safe and have my wife write me a check for the whole $15k and go find another branch somewhere?

The “structuring” laws that you may have heard about address attempts to avoid reporting requirements on CASH deposits. Deposits by check are not cash deposits.

You have nothing to worry about.

I see. Thank you!

Just check to see if the funds from the $15,000 deposit are “available” in your wife’s BofA account before depositing the checks. Sometimes banks put a “hold” on large deposits, especially personal checks" and may not make the funds available for withdrawal for several days after deposit.

Will do. Grazie!

SAR/CTR/MIL are all cash reports.

The real question is did she write it out to you AND your wife or you OR your wife. Technically, the former is supposed to only go into a joint account. Especially if put in an ATM, but also in person, they may not catch it, or if she is a well-established customer not care. But that’s personal checks; I have seen government checks being stopped and reissued for that reason.

She wrote both of our names on it, no conjunction. Just a comma, IIRC.


Then it’s vague, but generally considered equivalent to OR, so you’re good.

Are you worried about an SAR or CTR? No worries on a CTR, since it was a non-cash transaction, but your bank (and/or your wife’s bank) may file an SAR depending on what their AML (anti money laundering) protocols are set to trigger on.

SARs are not limited to cash transactions, and are a bit unfortunately named. Yes, they can be used to report suspicious activities, but they’re also used to report unusual activity like writing $15,000 worth of checks in one day when you normally write $15 worth per month, if any. Don’t worry about it. You will never know if an SAR was filed as disclosing info on one is a federal crime.

No, just attempting to avoid any unnecessary hassle. I assure you everything here is on the up and up.

Just thankful my MIL is so generous with us; her philosophy is that she wants us to enjoy our inheritance while she is living, as she has more than enough for her own very modest life, and it makes her happy to help improve ours. Good thing she likes me!

An obvious alternative would have been to just mail the check to the credit union along with a deposit ticket.