How does someone sign a document who is unable to sign? Hey, not a trick question. Seriously, how does someone who is unable to physically move their arms and hands, who is otherwise mentally competent, sign a legal document?
Well, in New Jersey, there are two ways of doing this. One way (assuming the person has minimal hand/arm dexterity) is for the person to simply sign an “X” or make some other mark. Under the law (N.J.S.A. 46:14-4.2), as long as a person intends for an “X” or some other mark to evidence his or her intention to sign, the mark constitutes a valid signature.
If the person is unable to move his or her arms and hands all together (someone for instance who is a quadriplegic), the law allows a third party to sign on behalf of the person, so long as the person has directed the third party to sign for them.
The key to both forms of signature if the signor's competence to sign a legal document AND their intent to be bound by the subject document, whether it be a will, contract, sworn document or any other legal document. INTENT is key!
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