View Full Version : Legal Question - Signatures

12-31-2008, 07:25 AM
I am not even sure where to put this...so, here goes:


I did search google myself and tried to come up with an answer. But, nothing really came close to answering my inquiry.

I know we have lawyers, paralegals and others in legal professional capacity here. Maybe someone can answer for me. Maybe not. I do not think this is a huge issue at all. Just my curious mind makes me ask.

I have to sign a legal waiver (bond waiver) for probate of "intestate" issues related to "real property" associated with a death in the family. This is merely to set a bond at a minimum, rather than a bond that would hold higher dollar amts and cost higher premiums. That is not the issue. And I have no problem signing the waiver so the minimum bond is set for the "administrators."

This is the thing, I signed the original. Sent back. But, they did not use my legal given name (Christine) on the paperwork. Now, they wish me to re-sign another with just Chris as they typed on the waiver and filed with the court.

I thought all legal documents required an actual legal signature? Now, maybe Chris is a legal signature - but I did not think it was.

Can anyone tell me?



Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-31-2008, 07:28 AM
I'll leave this one here for a bit to see if Soccer Mom or one of the other law types sees this... if not, I'll move it to 'Research' to see if we get some nibbles. :)

12-31-2008, 07:38 AM
Thank you OFG!

I did not wish to just put it there for it is NOT actual research for a book or story. Thus, well, I did not wish to impose. But, that is up to you and I appreciate any assist in getting the answer.


Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-31-2008, 08:40 PM
Well... no takers here in OP... so I'm moving us over to the research forum. Let's see if there are any lawyers hanging out over there today...

12-31-2008, 09:06 PM
I had to talk with an estate lawyer today for other reasons but I posed your question. He called it a distinction without a difference. He told me that you should sign your name the way it appears on the document. It's still legal even though 'Chris' is not your actual legal name. So, go ahead and re-sign the documents.

Thanks Steven Kufus of St. Paul, MN for the advice.

01-01-2009, 06:44 AM
Well, than you Steven Kufus AND StephanieFox!

Much appreciated that you thought to ask for me.

Thank you!


01-01-2009, 11:21 PM
I deal with legal documents every day at work (unfortunately). What Stephanie said is pretty much the deal: sign it the way it appears on the document.

01-01-2009, 11:48 PM
Great - that is just what I did.

I was only worried (as this is probate of inheritance) that, at some point, someone (nasty) would contest anything based upon a signature that was not actually a Legal Given Name on a court document.

Since there is no relative meaning/distinction, I will not worry.

I REALLY do appreciate all the help!


01-07-2009, 04:10 AM
Speaking as a lawyer and former law professor (but don't take this as actual legal advice):

The important issue with document signing is that it just acknowledges your consent. The more the two match (and the signature and name can, in fact, be traced to you), the less concern there is about any misunderstanding or signing by a wrong party. The issue they're probably worried about there is that some filing clerk or someone down the line may see that there's not a 100% match and in an anal retentive way think something's wrong. Then they might have to track you down to make sure it's right. With real property, that could be years. Or...an anal retentive clerk may refuse to file the papers if the names don't match...just to be sure.

I.e., there are two completely separate issues here: 1) legality/efficacy of the signing and 2) the possibility of error in who's signing and proof of who signed. Most likely, they are more concerned with #2.

01-07-2009, 07:17 PM
At some point you might be asked to sign a statement that the two names are the same person.

01-08-2009, 01:08 AM
What we have here is the difference between a "best practice" and a "necessary practice."

"Best practice" is to get the full, complete and legally accurate name so there is no question and no need to ever elucidate (which they didn't fully do in this case).

"Necessary practice" is just to signify the intent of the person signing with knowledge of the impact and meaning of the document being signed.

01-08-2009, 02:43 AM
I worked for the Federal government for 15 years. We regularly got the person's names wrong. Even as far as Kristine for Christine or Barbra for Barbara. We always asked the person to sign the contract or document as it was written, misspelling and all.

If they insisted on using their correct name, we asked them to sign twice, once with their correct name and once as it was spelled.

01-08-2009, 05:37 AM
I think the easiest thing would be to have a signature so illegible that you can't tell what it says. :tongue:

01-08-2009, 10:05 PM
As long as it's never contested. Because then, they'd have to bring in someone to swear they saw you sign or you to affirm it's your signature.