Rubber stamps are commonly used in every office setting to make document sorting more efficient. Included herein is a signature stamp. If you are an authorized signatory, having a signature stamp saves you tons of effort and energy. Imagine having to sign a pile of documents by hand. A signature stamp can also be left in the care of someone else, to sign for you in case you are not around. This leads us to the most important question.
Is a stamp a legal signature?
If a signature stamp use is authorized by the original signatory, then it means that the intent is the same as if a document was signed by the original signatory by hand using ink. If the use of the stamp is unauthorized, however, it is considered illegal and counterfeit.
When it comes to legal documents, contracts, and agreements, the law states that a person who has the physical capacity to sign must use a handwritten signature and not a signature stamp. A manual signature is required for a document to be deemed valid. Otherwise, using a seal or signature stamp is not considered valid when presented to the Supreme Court.
A forensic document examiner is a person who examines a document to find out about its history and origin, as well as authenticity. Such a person is connected to the legal system, and for him, a rubber stamp is not considered authentic; authorized or unauthorized.
An authentic signature means that it is made by hand by the authorized individual signifying his own name or a symbol of his name. Even though a document has a machine copy, somewhere, originally it was signed by hand.
It is easy to differentiate a signature made by hand and one made by a stamp. A stamp signature is flat and not crisp because of defects in the rubber. Meanwhile a handwritten signature has depth and impression.
The only exception from having a document hand-signed is for people who are not able to sign, such as a blind person, a handicap or an illiterate person. They may use their fingerprint or affix a seal with two other people witnessing that the person made the fingerprint or affixed the seal.
When is a signature stamp used?
Though it is not considered legal and authentic, signature stamps are still popular in companies and offices. Due to the large number of invoices that need to be released daily, the use of signature stamps is considered valid for taxation purposes. This is also the reason why printed invoices with signatures are still accepted.
A signature stamp can also be used for stamping mail envelopes especially at the edge of the flap. This lets the receiver know that the mail has not been tampered and that only an authorized person can open it.
There are other office documents that are not that sensitive when it comes to legalities. It may be a letter or request or approval letter, as well as documents that will not matter for a long time.
You can use a signature stamp for them especially if there are a lot of documents to sign.
Precautions to Take
You have to be careful when using a signature stamp though, because employees may use it wrongly and sign documents without your authorization. If such happens, your employee would be committing a crime. You can avoid this by making sure that your signature stamp is kept secure at all times. Place it in a safe when you are away.
If for example you are away on vacation and you want to give your assistant permission to sign some documents for you, it is best that you have a written letter that is notarized. Include in your letter the necessary details like the name of the person, the inclusive dates of when the stamp will be used and what for.
Where to Buy
You can easily order signature stamps online or from office supplies stores. You can even have it customized according to your preference. You can choose from a traditional stamp with wood handle, or self-inking stamp or a pre-inked stamp.
When ordering, you simply have to use a black pen and sign on a blank piece of white paper. If it’s online, just scan the image and upload it and the supplier will make the stamp for you.
Signature stamps are highly beneficial in any office setup as long as you know it’s limits in terms of legalities and how to keep it secure. Have you used a signature stamp? Share your experience with us in the comments section.