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Signing documents on behalf of another person without risk - A guide

If you are in a situation where you need to have important documents and contracts for a new project signed by colleagues or your supervisor or boss, but they are not available, e.g. because they are in the field or attending a trade fair.

So they are not personally available, but have authorized you accordingly to sign them yourself. Since every signed document has legal consequences, it is incredibly important in these cases to make it clear that the signature was made "on behalf" (i.A.) of a third person. In this article, we would like to give you some tips on how you can easily sign on behalf of others.

Who has the authority to sign on behalf of?

When carrying out legal transactions, it is important that you always have a written power of attorney from your authorized representative, with which you are allowed to execute a power of representation. This can be either an individual or special power of attorney for a specific document, or a generic or type of power of attorney with which the same type of tasks may be performed. This allows you, or someone else signing on your behalf, to sign documents without your ability being questioned, and makes things easier if something goes wrong later.

A signature on behalf of another person may be made in the following situations.

The law stipulates that anyone who signs a document "on behalf of" or "on behalf of" another person, e.g. in the case of orders or contractual obligations, must have the legal authority to do so. However, this is not necessary when it comes to everyday tasks, such as agreeing on appointments in writing - it can be done that way without further ado.

Different legal consequences are tied to different types of signature sets, of which there are three:

  1. Individual or special power of attorney: This is issued for a specific purpose or business transaction: for example, for company parties or the purchase of expensive equipment. In this case, all contracts, including business transactions and contracts relating to the event or purchase in question, may be signed with the addition "i.A.". This makes it clear that you have been authorized to do so.
  2. General or special power of attorney: Here, too, you sign with "i.A.". With a general power of attorney, you are authorized to conclude all transactions of a certain type, such as the purchase of employee beverages, the booking of business trips or even the rental of event rooms. Until revoked or your change of position, this power of attorney is valid.

Power of attorney: The last type of power of attorney to be mentioned is the power of attorney. With this, you are authorized to take care of actions, transactions and decisions within a specific commercial enterprise. Again, this can be divided into individual or special power of attorney, generic/typical power of attorney and finally a general power of attorney. If your superior is absent for a longer, if not indefinite, period of time, you can be authorized for all legal transactions, in which case you sign with the addition "i.V." (in power of attorney). If you want to delve deeper into powers of attorney, take a look at the Legal tips nach.

How does that look with the error liability?

In the "worst case scenario", the signatory can be held liable for losses or mistakes, unless there is a power of attorney: Then there is nothing to worry about, because in the event of a legal dispute, either your company or also your supervisor is always liable, regardless of the type of power of attorney.

Until the end of the event or the completion of your task, the individual or special power of attorney is valid. The generic and commercial power of attorney, on the other hand, remain valid until they are either revoked or you leave your position. The power of attorney can also expire if the company is sold or becomes insolvent. There are no personal consequences to fear, at least as long as these powers of attorney are valid.

What other alternatives are there?

A power of attorney is therefore indispensable if you want to be legally secure. But it is much easier and safer if the person who issues the power of attorney to you signs the documents and contracts himself.

Thanks to the Internet and the associated possibilities, this is easily possible nowadays. Thanks to the electronic signature, anyone can easily sign from anywhere, even from the hospital, around the clock in a legally secure manner for all parties involved.

There's no longer any need for a postal service, a copy, or other analog channels. Instead, you can simply draw up a contract on your computer with a few clicks, edit it digitally as a PDF document, and do without paper. All you need is an Internet connection, an e-mail address and a minute of your time, and the contract is signed. We provide you with the program to do this, in the form of TrustSigner. If you would like more information, please take a look at here or simply contact us, we will be happy to help you find the right path to digitization.

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