A signed document typically means that all parties agree to the information there within. It is binding. It is not, however, set in stone. If the document in question attempts to get its signee to break the law or in and of itself is against, then it isn’t legally binding with some exceptions. You can sign away some of your rights, yes, but there isn’t a document out there that can be signed that would make it legal for someone to kill you or for you to kill them.
Other than the legality of the document itself, there are other instances where a signature is not binding.
- The Signer Was Under Duress
- The Signer Was Not in Their Right of Mind
- The Signature was Fraudulent
When drafting any document for legal purposes, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the entire process is legal and, therefore, would be very difficult to contest. If you sell a car to another private owner, for example, then you will want to follow these steps to ensure the sale is legal and that the buyer cannot come back to you with a fraudulent claim later.
Get the Correct Papers for the Job
First things first, you will want to have the right legal papers drafted. For more complicated processes, like divorce, this should be done by an attorney. For straight forward tasks, like a car sale, you can usually get away with standard documentation provided by your state. For a car sale, for example, you can use existing documents or request documents to be provided for you.
- Vehicle history report
- Maintenance records
- Warranty documentation
- As-is documentation
- Odometer disclosure
- Title of the vehicle
- Bill of sale
You won’t need unique documents drafted for any of these but will rather instead use the standard documentation provided by your state. Other documents will need to be requested, like your vehicle history report.
Ensure Documents are Correctly Filled Out
If you are personally filling out the document, then you will want to go through online guides or even ask for advice from a professional to help you fill out the template document for your needs.
Have Your Documents Notarized
Finally, you will want to find a notary near you to officiate the signing of these documents. For private sales of expensive vehicles, this is recommended, whereas in other instances – such as divorce – it is considered a standard procedure. Notary services are there to authenticate and certify signatures. They provide objective oversight to provide proof that the signing parties were not under duress, were in the right state of mind, and that the document is legal.
The Importance of Due Diligence
Ensuring that the documents themselves are legal and that they are notarized is simply doing your due diligence. Otherwise, there can and will be loopholes that can be exploited. If you wished to draft a will, for example, you would want to have it notarized and then kept by an attorney so that there will not be an issue when it comes to executing your Last Will and Testament. Doing your due diligence this way ensures your intention is carried out in many different areas of law.