Post dating a deed
This article will try to unpick the various legal threads of when you can and cannot backdate documents, and what the consequences will be if you do. Slightly more tenuously, where the parties reached a binding agreement on a certain date, but only reduced it to writing on a later date, they might be justified in putting the date of agreement rather than the date of execution if the terms were in fact identical a more likely scenario given the length and detail of many modern written contracts would be where the terms of contracts are agreed by e-mail on a certain date, but the parties were only available to sign the actual physical documents upon a later date. However in practice, for both good reasons and bad, backdating of documents does occur. However, he only realizes this in January and so wishes to backdate the document to December. Some contracts clearly specify their effective date. So is it ever OK to backdate a document? Legally speaking, this is something that you should not do — or more accurately, there will only ever rarely be occasions when this is appropriate to do.
When there is no stated effective date, the contract becomes binding when the party who was offered the contract signs it. For example, if a seller had sold his house in December then the seller could have taken advantage of certain tax benefits. Where a deed is executed by a company, legislation provides that it is presumed to be delivered on execution, unless a contrary intention is proved. The argument is obviously not valid if the transaction is one which is required by law to be in writing such as a transfer of land. Sometimes courts are asked to determine the effective dates of contracts that are completely undated. The document could instead, though, be signed by the director in the presence of a witness. If that date cannot be determined, a court may determine the effective date by the surrounding circumstances, such as other documents and the behavior of the contracting parties. Modification of a contract requires mutual assent. Some contracts clearly specify their effective date. If there is no stated effective date, the contract goes into effect when the party offered the contract signs it. If the contract is signed, but not dated, the contract goes into effect on the stated effective date. A composite version could then be created, either by using a print-out of the electronically signed page together with the wet ink signed pages, or by scanning the wet ink pages to add to the electronically signed page. He also has no way of knowing whether the backdating will be scrutinized by a regulatory authority or even a Court. Another common example is where one person purports to sign a document on behalf of another person, and then afterwards the parties execute a backdated power of attorney to clothe the signatory with the necessary authority. Do all parties have to use the same method of execution? What date should be inserted into the deed? For obvious reasons, any request to backdate a document for these reasons should be flatly turned down. But now the document must be validly executed — and this is where all the hard work in reaching agreement can be undone. It is advisable that a witness is aged eighteen or over. These are questions he will probably be asked by the judge or regulator if things go wrong and to which he will need convincing answers. Although criminal prosecution might be a risk in serious fraud cases, in most day to day legal matters where backdating occurs for reasons of administrative convenience, or simply by oversight or error, the risk of being charged with a crime are commensurately small. Where backdating is done for financial gain, it may also constitute the more dull-sounding criminal offence of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception. The best way to deal with delivery of a deed is to have clear wording in the document setting out that the deed will be delivered on the date appearing at the head of the document. Can one individual execute a document as both a director and the company secretary? In those cases, the courts may look at surrounding circumstances to determine approximately when the contract went into effect.
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