It’s a familiar story, and it often starts like this. Your boss is indisposed and unable to make it to the office. Unfortunately, an essential document that requires their immediate approval arrives at your desk. And everyone expects you to sign on your boss’s behalf. 

It’s a pretty tough dilemma, especially if you always love to be on the right side of the law. 

You may need to sign in place of someone else for several reasons. However, it’s great to understand what the law says about such situations to avoid being guilty of forgery. 

In this article, we’ll answer the question: is it legal to sign on someone else’s behalf?” in detail. 

Keep scrolling. 

What Does It Mean to Sign On Behalf Of Someone?

Signing on behalf of your boss is the same as attending an event in your boss’s name. At the time of signature, you represent whoever you are signing for. It means you are their authorized representative and making decisions on their behalf in that situation. 

Acting as an authorized representative comes with its fair share of responsibility. Whatever you do and any decision you make is binding on the person you represent. Thus, the first step to signing for someone is getting their authorization. When you eventually sign on their behalf, ensure it’s in their best interest. 

When Does Signing On Behalf Of Someone Become Illegal?

sign on someone else’s behalfWhen you sign a document in someone else’s name without their permission, you are guilty of forgery. Especially when you have something to gain and have the intention to defraud. This even applies when you assume you have someone’s permission to sign without getting proper authorization. 

There are several provisions against falsifying documents in Australia. If you sign a document in someone’s name when the person isn’t aware, you will be guilty of forgery. It’s essential to always seek permission before signing documents in people’s names, especially when you have something to gain. 

How Do You Legally Sign for Someone Else in Australia?

The kind of document you are signing for someone determines the level of severity with which it will be treated. 

What this means is that you may casually sign on behalf of someone to collect a package from an e-commerce store. However, the process takes an entirely different turn if you need to represent someone while signing for a mortgage, for instance. 

So, in Australia, you can officially sign a document in someone’s name in two different ways: 

  1. Using a power of attorney 
  2. Using a ‘p.p.’

Using a ‘P.P.’

When you are signing for someone, you can write P.P. before signing. P.P. in this situation means ‘per procurationem,’ a Latin word that means ‘through the agency of.’ This shows that the person you are signing for is aware of the arrangement and that you are authorized to sign in their name. 

After this signature, you’ll write your name and position. P.P. is suitable when you have the express authority of the intended signee to sign a formal document. It proves to the reader that you are signing instead of the actual signee. 

This method isn’t particularly suitable for legally binding documents. 

Using Power of Attorney 

A power of attorney varies from state to state in Australia. But it pretty much works similarly. A family member, lawyer, or employee may wield the Power of Attorney. 

Generally, it’s a legal document that enables someone to sign a document on behalf of someone who isn’t available. In most cases, it permits people to sign on behalf of an incapacitated, deceased, or absent signee. 

Where the intended signee is absent, they must have entrusted the representative to sign on their behalf using a POA.

Sign on Someone Else’s Behalf: Obtaining Consent and Authorization 

Is it legal to sign on someone else’s behalf? Only if you have the person’s authorization or consent. If not, it’s fraud. Be sure to get someone’s consent, including the limitations to this authorization. 

When you have the proper consent, you may sign for someone else without worry. However, you need to be careful when appending a signature to any document. Always read the documents first and understand the content before signing.