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The Payee


THE PAYEE. Every bill or note should specify clearly to whom it is payable. If no person is designated as payee the instrument cannot be negotiated, though if some one is indicated so as to be identified by parol evi dence it may be good as a non-negotiable contract. (Brown v. Gilman, 13 Mass., 158; Kinney v. Flinn, 2 R. I., 319.) This does not mean that the payee must be actually named in the instrument, though this is the proper way of doing. The instrument may be drawn payable to bearer, no name being given, and is negotiable as though executed to a named person, or bearer. The payee may be desig nated by his official capacity or office, or described as the administrator or executor of a deceased per son, or the guardian or trustee of an infant.

A note payable to a named person, there being two persons of the same name, father and son, is presumed to be payable to the father unless the word "junior is affixed to the signature. But where the son had possession of the note and had sued upon it a counter presumption arises which will permit the son to recover, unless it is shown that the father was intended. (Stebbing v. Spicer, 3 C. B., 827; Sweeting v. Fowler, i Starkie, 106.) And, as a rule, an ambiguity caused by a mis description of the payee will not destroy the nego tiability of the instrument if the payee can be identified by the aid of parol evidence. (Cork v. Bacon, 45 Wis., 192.) A note in the form, "Received of A. B. one hundred dollars, which I promise to pay on demand," was held to give a sufficient description of the payee, as from the receipt it is manifest that A. B. was the intended payee. (Green v. Davies, 4 B. & C. 235.) Where the instrument is payable to a fictitious person or order, whose name has been indorsed on the back, the paper is treated as though it were pay able to bearer in the hands of an innocent holder for value. Such a holder may sue in his own name, the drawer or maker, and also the acceptor if he had accepted knowing that the payee was a ficti tious person. (3 Kent Com., 78.) If the name of the payee or indorsee is left blank, any bona fide holder has authority to insert his own name as payee or indorsee. So if a note or bill is executed to the payee in a wrong name by mistake, he may sue in his right name and show the mistake at the trial. And the payee may assume a name different from his real name and the use of such adopted name honestly and in good faith will not invalidate the contract. (Bartlett v. Tucker, 104 Mass., 345.) A note or bill may be made payable to the maker or drawer, and when endorsed and negotiated it becomes a valid negotiable instrument, and is treated as though it had been made payable to bearer. All bills in which the drawer and drawee arc the same person may be treated by the indorsee as bills of exchange or promissory notes, and the drawer is not entitled to notice of dishonor.

name, payable, person and note