Is it check fraud to help someone write a check?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it check fraud to help someone write a check?

My maternal grandfather recently passed away. His son, as the executor, was recently sent a bank

statement with a few checks with a different signature. We would help our grandfather write his checks. Is it check fraud when you have permission? If he’s passed away how do we prove we had his permission?

Asked on May 13, 2017 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is technically a crime to write checks on someone else's account and sign their name when you are not them. If your grandfather wanted you to help with his finances, he should have put you on the account and/or given you a power of attorney, either of which would have given you legal authority.
Even though this is a crime since you signed checks on another's account without the legal authorization, if the checks were clearly for the grandfather (e.g. his medical bills, his rent or mortgage, his utilities, etc.), you are unlikely to suffer liability for this: demonstrating that all the amounts for paid for his benefit is important. But if the checks were payable to you or for your own expenses, you could be looking at criminal charges.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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