Is it legal to change a document signed by someone else?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to change a document signed by someone else?

I work for a non-profit that requires parent consent PC for child participation. On the PC there is a space for the parent to include their address and phone number. The PC also indicates that the signature must be in ink. Often times our parents do not put an address they may be in a hurry, they are transient, or they do not want us to know where they live, etc. and on occasion we have a parent sign in pencil. At our most recent training we were instructed to fill in any missing information such as the address ourselves after we have received the signed PC. We were also instructed to trace over any pencil signatures with pen. In school I was always told we are not allowed to make any changes to a document signed by another party, so I do not feel what they are asking us to do it necessarily legal. Should I do as they have instructed or should I stand my ground and submit my paperwork ‘as-is’?

Asked on August 23, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You cannot change the terms or conditions of the document, or add a signature (to show agreement/consent to the document),or change/revise a signature. However, you can fill in missing information, like an address or contact information, which does not affect the terms of the document (and which, after all, could simply be placed on a post-it note or extra sheet stapled to the document).
So filling in the information: legal. Tracing over a signature, which can be taken as altering it--not legal.

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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