Instrument may be payable on demand.
It is a common practice to make negotiable paper payable on demand.
It is payable on demand:
"1. Where it is expressed to be payable on demand or at sight, or on presentation;
"2. In which no time for payment is expressed. Where an instrument is issued, accepted, or indorsed when overdue, it is, as regards the person so issuing accepting, or indorsing it, payable on demand." 15
If not payable on demand, instrument must be payable at a fixed or determinable future time.
(1) In general.
An instrument must be payable either on demand or at a time certain to occur. If there is any uncertainty whatever about the arrival of the time that destroys negotiability.
(2) What constitutes determinable future time.
"An instrument is payable at a determinable future time within the meaning of this act, which is expressed to be payable:
1. At a fixed period after date or sight; or
2. On or before a fixed or determinable future time specified therein; or
15. Negotiable Instruments Law, SEC. 7.
3. On or at a fixed period after the occurrence of a specified event, which is certain to happen, though the time of happening be uncertain.
An instrument payable upon a contingency is not negotiable and the happening of the event does not cure the defect." 16
In one case the plaintiff sued on an instrument to which he claimed title, as indorsee, which was to become due and payable when Henry D. Kelley became 21 years of age. The plaintiff proved that said Kelley did become 21 years of age before the suit was started. It became material in the case to establish whether this instrument was or was not a negotiable instrument. The court in deciding that it was not negotiable said, in part, "* * * "Was the instrument in question a [negotiable] promissory note? To constitute a promissory note, the money must be certainly payable, not dependent on any contingency, either as to the event or the fund out of which payment is to be made or the parties by or to whom payment is to be made. If the terms of an instrument leave it uncertain whether the money will ever become payable, it cannot be considered as a promissory note. Thus a promise in writing to pay a sum of money when a particular person shall be married is not a promissory note, because it is not certain he will ever be married. So of a promise to pay when a particular ship shall return from sea, for it is not certain she will ever return. But if the event on which the money is to become payable must inevitably take place it is a matter of no importance how long the payment may be suspended. * * *
16. Ibid, SEC. 4.
"The fact that the payee lived till he was 21 years of age makes no difference. It was not a promissory note when made and it could not become such by matter ex post facto." 17
An instrument payable at or after one's death may be negotiable, for death is certain to occur.