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

UPDATED: Feb 14, 2013

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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


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

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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