Can I be held responsible for an advertising contract that my finance signed in her name if she does not work for my company?

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Can I be held responsible for an advertising contract that my finance signed in her name if she does not work for my company?

Asked on February 14, 2013 under Business Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

"Agency” is the legal theory that describes situations where one person (the principal) authorizes a second person (the agent) to deal with a third person on the principal’s behalf. In other words, it is a relationship in which one person has legal authority to act for another.

There are 4 ways to create an agency relationship:

  • By contract: The principal and agent expressly agree that the agent will act on the principal’s behalf;
  • By ratification: The agent acts without the principal’s consent however the principal accepts the acts of the agent;
  • By estoppel: There is no principal/agent agreement but a third party reasonably believes they do and relies on that belief (especially if the principal and/or agent knew the third party believed this);
  • By necessity: The principal and agent have no agreement yet the agent has to act to prevent an injury to people and/or property.

However, without the specifics of your case it is hard to say more. At this point you should consult directly with an attorney in your area.


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