Is It Legal to Sign on Behalf of Someone 2024

Is It Legal to Sign on Behalf of Someone 2024

Have you ever been in a situation when you had to sign an agreement as if it was your representative, but hesitated because its legality remained ambiguous? No matter if that the situation is professional, whether we are signing for a senior colleague or in a personal case of endorsing document for our family member or sign on behalf of someone such occasion can be very problematic.

Remarkably, signing for someone this is legal, if you are authorized to do so. Although most signatures today are typed, there may be circumstances where handwritten signatures are necessary and the validity of a signature is critical.

In this paper, we’ll look at the right way of signing someone else and discuss instances where these signatures are not welcome.

When does sign on behalf of someone become illegal?

Forgery falls under a criminal offense if one signs on behalf of someone with no given consent to do so. Despite the fact that you thought that this person gave you hisher consent, this act is recognized as falsification with ‘intent to defraud.’

As stated in Section 253 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), falsification is a crime punishable with imprisonment for up to ten years. Other states have provisions that are similar. Forgery arises when a person signs a document on behalf of the client without his consent but gains from such act. It is crucial to ensure that full consent is given before signing on behalf of a person.

How to legally sign on behalf of someone in Australia?

The significance of sign on behalf of someone depends much upon the nature of document being made. You may be the authorizing agent to sign on behalf of someone when you are receiving the parcel from e-commerce companies like eBay, Iconic, or Australia Post. But you could need to show ID to confirm your identity.

On the other hand, highly significant documents including those concerning bank loans or mortgages normally require an original signature of the intended user. Although this is a formal agreement such as land sale contracts under the statue of fraud, permission still permits another person to sign it.

If these differences are understood, then it becomes clear that there are two legally acceptable solutions for sign on behalf of someone.

  1. Using a ‘p.p’
  2. Using a Power of Attorney

What is ‘p.p’ and when should I use it?

You may come across the prefix ‘p.p’ in some correspondences or company documents preceding a signature. This symbol, which is based on the Latin word per procurationem, implies that those signing are doing so via another.

When ‘p.p’ is written, it recognizes that the signatory authorized the signature but someone else carries out its execution. Below the signature, you will usually find the name and role of whom it was intended for. This practice is effective for formal documents when you have actual authority such that it becomes clear that you are sign on behalf of someone.

But this approach should be looked upon with caution when using it to create legally binding documents.


In the case of an executive assistant to a CEO who has been trapped in a critical meeting. They require a signed contract to send instantly for this major deal. You print out the document, get their written consent, and sign under “p.p.” before your initials next to the printed name. This guarantees the legality of the contract, informing other parties that you signed on behalf of CEO with their full authorization.

Using Power of Attorney to Sign Documents

A power of attorney is a legal documents that allows an individual to sign on behalf of another person who has been incapacitated, is medically unfit, or even dead. It is also applicable when the main signatory is on long trips or has delegated the role of signing to Power of Attorney holder. In Australia, the Power of Attorney can differ in details from state to state; it may be given to a family member or representative and may include lawyers or staff if we speak about companies.

Can eSignatures be used to sign on behalf of someone?

Electronic signatures, or eSignatures for short, have become widely used with many online services providing free eSignature tools. These means – be it uploading an image of a person’s signature, typing their name or applying such a dedicated eSignature platform neutralized the need for proxy signatures to a large extent. This move has had a major hand in combatting fraud.

However, even with the benefits of digital signatures, it is crucial to emphasize that written consent is required prior to using someone’s electronic signature. With the written authorization from this individual, you can make sure that eSignature was legally used and complains with informed consent.

Always read before sign on behalf of someone

While signing a document, it is important that you understand the underlying legal aspects involved in such an act especially if they are acting on behalf of someone else or serving him as power of attorney. You as a representative are supposed to make decisions in interest of the individuals you represent. When substituting p.p for the intended signee, full understanding of signing on to something is still required.

It is wise, in fact, to take a deep look into the document that you have before you and be eager to clarify with the intended signee on any ambiguities. Although this practice has fallen out of use, some instances may still arise. Only with the signee’s express permission, it is not considered illegal sign on behalf of someone except for documents of higher legal significance such as a Will.

If you are uncertain as to your legal right to sign a document, it is advisable to check with either person whom you are signing for or seek assist from an attorney.

Contact FastLane for more information.