Signing Documents

Signing Documents

How you sign on behalf of any business entity, be it an LLC, an Inc, or a Trust, is extremely important for your overall corporate liability protection and validity of the document you’re signing. If you don’t sign correctly, that document can be challenged and even voided. This is particularly true in real estate. Signing a purchase contract incorrectly can give the other party the right to cancel the contract! So, here is how you should sign on behalf of different entities.

  • There are two important point about signing your name: Your Title and The Entity. Keep this in mind as you read further.

Signatures for LLCs:

Sometimes you sign as a “member” and sometimes, if your LLC is managed by managers, as a “manager.” For most of our clients, we create manager-managed LLCs (see, LLC Members and LLC Managers for more info about those roles), so you will need to know when you’re signing as a member and when as a manager.

Sign as a “member” when acting as a Member of an LLC and for most “internal documents.” Internal documents are Minutes for Meetings of the Members, the Operating Agreement or amendments and changes to your company. The MEMBERS OF AN LLC ALWAYS DO THESE THINGS! So, sign like this to sign when signing an internal document:

  • BY: Donald Duck, Member

Se how we listed Donald’s “title” after his signature!

Internal documents should already have the name of the company on them, so you don’t need to state the entity you are signing on behalf of. This is true on any document:

  • NOTE: If the entity for which you are signing is listed above or below your signature, you do not need to print or sign it again. You also do not have 
  • NOTE: If the document comes pre-printed with your name and title, then all you have to do is sign your name. There is no need to sign your title. 

Remember, if your LLC is member-managed, you will always sign as a member. If your LLC is manager-managed (most!), then you will sign as a manager on almost all other documents because the authority to run the day-to-day operations is vested in the manager.

Always sign as a manager when signing most “external documents.” These would be ALL contracts with third parties, lease agreements, etc. These are part of daily operations that a manager signed. Here are some examples for both member-managed and manager-managed LLCs:

If your LLC is Member-Managed, this should be printed above or below the signature line:

  • BY: Donald Duck, Member
  • FOR: Goofy Tunes, LLC

If your LLC is Manager-Managed, this should be printed above or below the signature line:

  • BY: Tweety Bird, Manager
  • FOR: Goofy Tunes, LLC

Signatures for INCs:

All the same rules apply to signing corporations as for LLCs, except for the titles. There are no members or managers (usually) with an Inc. Instead there are typically board members called Directions, officers called President, Vice President, Secretay and so on and the owners called Shareholders. Your name, title and the entity for which you are signing should be printed above or below the signature line. here’s an example:

  • BY: Tweety Bird, President
  • FOR: Goofy Tunes, Inc.

Signatures for Trusts:

Again, the same rules apply to Trusts. For a trust, there are three possible titles. You will either be signing as a Grantor (or, Truster), Trustee or Beneficiary. Grantors and Beneficiary are like the members and usually only sign internal documents. The Trustee is like a manager on an LLC, they do all the day-to-day operations, they will sign most external documents. Here’s an example of a Trustee signature block:

  • BY: Donald Duck, Trustee
  • FOR: The Goofy Tunes Trust dated January 1, 2018

Note how we wrote the date of the trust as part of the trust name.

Signing can become even more complicated when an entity (instead of an individual) is representing another entity. For example, sometimes a business entity will be the trustee of a trust. In this case, there are three lines associated with your signature.

  • BY: Tweety Bird, Manager
  • FOR: Goofy Tunes, LLC
  • FOR: The Laugh A Lot Trust dated February 1, 2018.