I need to sign a document on behalf of a company
- you must not sign the document before you see me
- you will need to sign the document in my presence
- if you receive any instructions from the person, lawyer etc who provides the document, you have to let me see them. The instructions often contain details on how the document needs signing and what I should do
- for some types of documents only certain types of representatives of the company can or should sign documents. Essentially:
- the more important the document the more likely that a company director will need to sign the document (or at least a senior manager);
- documents such as powers of attorney and formal company documents (such as board minutes, board resolutions etc) must always be signed by a company director (or sometimes a company secretary)
- for documents which are powers of attorney:
- they will need signing as a deed;
- they will need signing only by a director (or a director and a company secretary);
Other essential things you need to know when you use a notary
In all the notarial work I do there I things I have to do including:
- identifying you (Click here to find out more)
- usually preparing a separate document (called a ‘notarial certificate’) which I attach to the document you sign, and then I bind that certificate to the power of attorney and add my signature and seal. (What does notarial certificate contain?)
- recording the details of what I have done for you. (Why do I have do this and what does it involve?)
- I need to sign a power of attorney for my company and my job title has ‘director’ in it, can I sign it? Many people have the word ‘director’ in their job title (such as ‘creative director’, ‘director of business services’). But only a person who is a company director can normally sign a power of attorney (because of the formality required for power of attorney, which needs signing as a deed).
- The document I need to sign does not need signing by a director - can I sign it? There is no one answer to this. However there are a number of factors which need consideration as to who is the right or acceptable person to sign, you should bear in mind:
- in many countries there is an assumption that where a document needs signing before a notary it will be signed by a company director or an official representative;
- in many European countries, a representative of a company (usually a company director) is registered with the equivalent of the UK Companies House as authorised to bind the company and sign documents on its behalf. The UK has no equivalent of an authorised representative registered with an official/regulatory body. Where an authorised representative needs to sign a document, then the only safe option is to have a company director sign;
if the person who wishes to sign is not a company director, then I will need to know they are authorised to sign the document (whether generally or specifically). Sometimes the role or position within the organisation makes it obvious that the person wishing to sign can do so. Sometimes the document is ‘routine’ or seeking some purely factual information. Each case will depend on its facts.
if the document which needs signing is to confirm that a person is a employee, then a senior manager (such as the ‘Head of Personal’) would be usually authorised to sign a document dealing with the confirmation of such factual information (or which they would normally be required to do day-to-day).