Bearer Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Bearer, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Bearer?

(n) Bearer is the person holding or having the possession of a financial instrument which can be freely transferred by delivery and handing over of the document. Eg. Person holding a bearer check.

History and Meaning of Bearer

The term "Bearer" refers to a person who holds or possesses a financial instrument, such as a check, bond, or stock, that is payable or transferable to anyone who is in possession of the instrument. The concept of bearer instruments dates back centuries to a time when paper money and financial documents were the primary means of transacting business.

Bearer instruments were originally used as a way to facilitate trade and commerce without the need for banks or other intermediaries to validate the ownership of the instrument. Instead, the person in possession of the instrument was considered to be the rightful owner and could transact business accordingly.

Examples of Bearer

Here are a few examples of how the term "Bearer" might be used in different contexts:

  1. John handed Jane a bearer check for $500, which she was able to cash immediately without any need for identification or authorization.

  2. The bearer bond that Mary inherited from her grandfather allowed her to collect the interest payments without needing to provide proof of ownership to the issuer.

  3. The stock certificate that Bob received was a bearer instrument, which meant that he could sell the shares to anyone who had physical possession of the certificate.

Legal Terms Similar to Bearer

Here are a few related terms that are similar to "Bearer":

  1. Endorsement - A signature or other form of authorization on a financial instrument that transfers ownership or rights to another person.

  2. Negotiable Instrument - A financial instrument that is transferable from one person to another and can be used to make a payment or settle a debt.

  3. Payee - The person who is named as the recipient of a financial instrument, such as a check or money order.