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By Antonia M. Klekoda-Baker C.F.D.E.
Some people go a whole lifetime without ever having to contact a Handwriting Expert. And, when they do, some of those individuals will go to the yellow pages in the telephone book to locate such a professional while others go online to check out Document Examiners and/or Handwriting Experts — since the lists and descriptions of services are numerous and most informative.
Depending upon the nature of your case will determine whether you are hiring the right person to assist you. A trained Handwriting Expert will list credentials on a resume known as a Curriculum Vitae. Also, there most likely will be a reference sheet for cases which involved that particular expert. It is a win-win for the client to have firsthand acquaintance with the expert’s background and references.
Many times some popular television show will invite a Handwriting Expert to determine whether or not an autograph is authentic. This person should have an extensive background in ink evaluation and specialized autograph study experience — along with understanding such things as the markers that will identify the pen which was used to write the autograph. In the event that the expert will be called upon to testify in a courtroom, the opposition undoubtedly will ask about the expert’s chemistry background so as to justify the conclusion regarding the ink. Check out your Handwriting Expert’s qualifications to actually prove the validity of authenticating autographs.
Then, there can be a question in a particular case about paper and its age and origination. How much experience has the Document Examiner had in recognizing antique documents — or, those made to look old? The field of paper identity is vast and often requires laboratory investigation of a paper sample which involves visual, physical, microscopic, ultraviolet and micro-chemical tests. The skilled paper specialist can report accurately on the fiber content and its origin. What experience has your Handwriting Expert had in this type of study?
Should there be a question about the typescript and/or font appearing on a document, the expert should possess undisputed knowledge regarding old typewriters and modern computer keyboards. On an International level, there are manual typewriters with an amazing combination of unusual letter forms that are used for different languages. Sometimes the conclusions are obvious. Other times the results are not so readily acceptable.
First and foremost, a qualified Handwriting Expert will deal with signatures, printing, and writing that is questionable. An ethical expert will not pretend to offer services that demand the input of a person whose profession covers other areas such as technical identification of writing tools, fingerprints, and counterfeit monies. A principled expert initially will ask you what type of case you have and if you are contacting the right person for assistance.
Make sure that your expert has court experience of note before engaging that individual with your questioned handwriting or signatures. A seasoned Document Examiner will be able to provide the right testimony to convince the judge to rule in your favor. Every Handwriting Analysis case does not go to court. Often, the convincing report of a recognized Handwriting Expert will be accepted by both sides and settled before it goes any further. That certainly can be a good happening for all concerned.
By: Antonia Klekoda Baker
Poet Robert Burns once wrote, “Even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!” And, so can your notion that your handwriting and/or signature cannot be forged become a myth.
Many a person will say, “No one can even read my signature, let alone copy it — ha ha ha !”
Many people in this century have designed their signature to be nothing more than to a scrawl and a swirl. They even place that same signature on their driver’s license and deed to their house — not to mention a thousand and one business deals.
Their friends and associates will get so used to seeing that particular emblem of reference to a person’s name, that any similar scribbled manifestation found on some document automatically will be considered valid.
It takes an experienced Handwriting Expert to be able to determine the legitimacy of such a doodle and authenticate it so that the right heir receives the half-million dollar legacy.
But, that Handwriting Expert may even have a problem in certifying your signature! Remember the famous Lindbergh Kidnapping ransom note case where countless Handwriting Experts had differing opinions about the penmanship and the authors of same?
Do not take your signature for granted. Use the services of a notary and be sure that you sign in on the notary sheet when you bear witness to some important negotiation. Above all, stay consistent in your signature so that you establish a basic representation of your autograph.