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Suppose a husband authorizes his wife to act as an agent on his behalf to enter into a contract agreement with another party: Would she sign her own name on the contract or that of her husband's (the principal)? Or both? I've read this:

The proper way to sign as an agent is to first sign the principal's full legal name, then write the word "by," and then sign your name

It sounds like she needs to sign both her name and her husband's name.

Is this the only way?

If the contract contains the husband's name as the party entering into the legal agreement but the wife omitted her husband's name before her signature (she only signed her own name) is the contract still valid and binding?

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    This is asking what the law requires. It is not asking for specific legal advice as that is defined on this site, and should not be closed on that basis. Jan 11, 2023 at 14:52
  • I’m quite interested in how this question would be answered for English and Wales. Jan 11, 2023 at 16:30

2 Answers 2

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The quoted way is the proper way. The principal's name would often be printed, however, followed by "by" with the agent's name signed.

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  • I understand it is proper - the question is whether the contract would still be enforceable if it did not do the "proper" thing.
    – S.O.S
    Jan 10, 2023 at 23:48
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    As a blatant nitpick, there's other reasonably accepted variations, e.g. "Anne Agent for/on behalf of/under power of attorney for Pete Party".
    – user71659
    Jan 10, 2023 at 23:55
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    It depends upon the circumstances. An agent signing on behalf of an undisclosed principal is bound as a principal. A contract naming person as a party and signed by another person would be confusing at a minimum and might lead to litigation.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 11, 2023 at 0:54
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    @user71659 Fair enough. As long as the same essentials are present the exact wording is immaterial.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 11, 2023 at 0:55
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    Some contracts are implicit that they are being signed by an agent e.g. any contract with a corporate or government principal
    – Dale M
    Jan 11, 2023 at 2:19
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Is this the only way?

No. This type of formalities can be dispensed with as long as the substance of the terms of the contract and the parties thereto is clear.

If the contract contains the husband's name as the party entering into the legal agreement but the wife omitted her husband's name before her signature (she only signed her own name) is the contract still valid and binding?

Generally speaking, yes. For the exception, see my reply to your comment. It is valid and binding, more so under the circumstance you have mentioned elsewhere: that the husband concedes that his wife was authorized to enter the contract on his behalf.

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