Updated: May 22, 2021
Document Security is Critical!
My day consists of watching people sign some of the most important deals of their lives. This could be a deed, a will, a power of attorney, or a business contract! These are documents that often get recorded with county clerks and courthouses. They are signatures that need to last for years to come, so it may be a good idea to take a look at the type of pen you're using to sign these documents! For legal documents, look for an archival quality pen that is permanent, waterproof, and acid-free.
What is the Statute of Fraud?
This is a common law that was adopted in the US. This law does not appear to regulate the color of ink used to sign a legal document, some organizations, jurisdictions, and individual document custodians (county clerks, notaries, etc.) have specific preferences and practices regarding ink color. Of course, important documents should never be signed in pencil as your signature can easily be erased or otherwise altered.
After HOURS of research and practice; I've come up with what I feel to be the best options for signing contracts. There are so many pens to choose from and when at your office or going to the bank, you probably rarely think of types of pens!
Know Your Ink
There are specific pens that are deemed Anti-Fraud Ink or ink that prevents "Check Washing." Another term is "Archival Ink." What that means is that the pen's ink is acid-free. The pen should be fade resistant and resist ultraviolet rays, water, eraser, ethanol, bleaching, hydrochloric acid, and ammonium hydroxide. So that if you were to sign a check, a person would not be able to easily remove your signature from the check using materials such as acetone. The ink sinks into the paper.
You need to make sure the ink is bold and dark. Most lenders prefer blue ink because it helps them to know which is an original. (If your notary has an embosser, that's even better because that makes an impression in the paper.) Ultimately, there needs to be the ability to make copies of the document and for the ink to be picked up by the scanner.
Gel vs Ink
The pen I use is a gel, and that's pure because it dries quickly. If you're signing 200 pages, you want the signature to be quick and smooth but also dry easily. You don't want a perfect signature that will then just be smudged in the end.
Colors of Ink
*Don't even look at any other colors!
Diameter of the Pen
I prefer to use Fine or Ultra Fine. If the point of the head of the pen is too thick, then it makes for sloppy penmanship. There are often forms that need to be completed so you don't want a marker-type impression. I recommend .07mm or smaller. The reason for the smaller tip is that the print-on forms are often small and you will need to complete them. The larger the tip, the less clear your handwriting becomes.
Size of the Diameter
OfficeSupply.com had a really good guide to buying pens!
Most people don't think about the grip but if you're signing 200 pages, it starts to hurt people's hands. With computers, people don't write as often as they used to and it's important to keep the signatures as consistent as possible. A comfort grip is best to help anyone with limited dexterity or fatigue. There are also devices that you can place on the writing instruments if the signer has arthritis or carpel tunnel.
You should have a pen that will last or at least one that comes from recycled material. Most pens allow for refillable ink so you don't have to keep spending money on pens.
Stylus vs Pen
If you have people signing your phone or tablet, having a stylus tip may be helpful. Of course, there's no use in signing with a pen since all of the documents are digital!
Ultimately, when looking at comfort, reliability, and sustainability. The overall pen that I use in the office are the following:
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*This is not an advertisement and we have not received any endorsement by any companies. This just who we like from experience.