A person’s signature is an important part of their identity and ability to provide written consent. As such, there are aspects of the criminal penal code that protect individuals from forgery – an individual imitating your signature without your permission. However, what happens if you need someone else to sign a letter, and you are willing to give permission to them? In fact, there are ways for another individual or party to sign on behalf of you, whether in one instance or at all times.
First, let’s define forgery. It is an illegal act that includes actions like altering a signature in order to defraud another individual. In these cases, the victim did not provide permission for the act. However, other individuals can sign a document for you if you make them your authorized representative. You must give explicit permission to your representative that they can sign on your behalf. The other person must not be in a position where they have to assume that you would have provided permission. In the case of signing a letter or a certain document or providing permission in one scenario, the individual will be acting as your proxy. If an agreement needs to be signed, but you cannot do so (for example, you are in another location or meeting), then you can explicitly authorize the proxy to sign for you.
Another way someone can sign on your behalf is by giving them power of attorney. Often spoken about in estate planning, power of attorney allows an authorized individual to sign on your behalf on all legal documents. Someone appointed as a proxy for a certain document cannot sign others unless you have explicitly said they have power of attorney. The best way to assign power of attorney or even the status of a proxy, is to have a written document with your authorization. If the matter is complex or multiple documents must be signed, you can consult with an attorney in order to understand the law.