Is it Against the Law to Sign Someone Else's Check With Their Permission?

By Beverly Bird ; Updated May 31, 2017
Close-up Of Hand Signing Check

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, cutting a few corners to get things done is often a necessity. Anyone can endorse your signature on a check if you ask them to, and in most states, this is perfectly legal. The same might apply if your elderly father is no longer able to sign his own name. With his permission, you can endorse checks for him, just as you could sign his last will and testament for him if he directed you to do so.

Permission Is Critical

If you’re going to endorse a check for the rightful payee, you must have his permission to do so. Otherwise, the act could be construed as forgery. A charge of forgery usually requires that you signed someone else’s name with the intention of defrauding him, such as if you kept the cash or deposited the check into your own account. In most jurisdictions, the person who issued the check wouldn’t be held responsible for covering it if he can prove that you weren’t authorized to sign it.

Possible Criminal Charges

In some states, such as California, a forgery offense is a “wobbler.” This means it can be charged as a misdemeanor, but if certain aggravating factors are present, such as prior forgery convictions, they could tip the scales into a felony.

About the Author

Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.