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Is it OK if a signer has an illegible signature?

If a signer has an illegible signature, is that okay? There is no way to see if they signed correctly. — N.J., Georgia

Yes. Under the Georgia Uniform Commercial Code, a signature may be made using any name, including a trade name, or by a word, mark, or symbol executed or adopted by a person with present intention to authenticate a writing (OCGA 11-3-401[b]). Thus, a signature may be a “mark,” a “symbol” or an illegible scrawl. The most important thing is the individual intends to be bound by what they are signing.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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22 Mar 2021

But other states (such as Florida) has special notary certificates for those "signing by Mark" as well as witness requirements. Some may read this article and think no problem, so it may be advisable to link over to other articles written on this matter. I ran in to a borrower recently that wanted to use her "mark" not because she could not write cursive but rather told me "well, they do not teach cursive writing any more" After I told her what additional requirements and delays would be encountered to sign their loan package, she decided she could write in cursive. Point being, know your specific state law......

Kim Ellis

22 Mar 2021

Experienced this last week. The signer was 80+ years old and his signature was very illegible. I thought it would be an issue when I scanned the docs back to the agency. Nothing was said, but this article has helped me to know that here in GA, a signature can be a mark, X, etc as long as the signer comprehends what (s)he is signing.

Michael Harris

22 Mar 2021

I do refis and HELOCs, which means the signer(s) sign a gazillion times, I only care that the 'signatures' look about the same -- that could be that they always use a middle initial. My signature is illegible (nerve damage).


22 Mar 2021

I don’t care if the signature is legible. If the signature matches the ID, then that’s what I consider the signer’s legal signature. My signature isn’t legible, but it is my signature, When I notarize documents other than MV paperwork, I will always print my name as well because of legibility concerns that some document preparers/recorders have.

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