Signing Contracts in the Digital Age- Use a Felt-tip Pen

Are you old enough to remember that when a contract was signed, especially at a real estate closing, we all sat around the table together and signed the document, passed it to the left, etc. until all the documents were signed by both parties, and often both parties signed twice so that each left with an original, signed contract?

Now we often get fax'd copies of documents, etc. And just recently a friend had a dispute with a contract where the other party provided a copy of the document with changes made and "signed." It got down to a legal dispute with a handwriting expert saying the validity of the signature was "inconclusive." It appears that when a document has been signed with a ballpoint pen a a traced or forged signature is very easy to do. You can go very slowly and trace each letter exactly. The ink might look a little darker, but that’s not enough for a handwriting expert or the courts.

The lesson here...according to the handwriting expert - ALWAYS sign contracts with a felt-tip pen. It's basically impossible to forge a signature done with one because when traced or forged with a felt pen, the line gets fatter as you go slower and that fat line is a recognized sign of forgery If the signature is traced or forged it it is pretty easy for a handwriting expert to tell that it is a forgery. And that will stand up in court.

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