Signing someone's name without that person's consent is illegal and could result in civil liability, if not also criminal liability. The insurance company probably issued the check that way because both of your parents' names are on the title to the property and they need to be sure that, if the work doesn't get done, they can prove that all of the owners of the property were compensated for the damages.
You may be able to get around this by contacting the insurance company and telling them the problem and asking if they will instead make the check payable to the roofing contractor who actually does the work. That way, the insurance company can be sure that the insured residence was actually repaired before they pay.
If that won't work, you probably need to hire a lawyer to help you find another course of action.
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Forging her missing husband's name to the check will almost certainly make your mother's bad situation worse. To answer your question, the worst that could happen if she does that is she could be indicted and convicted of forgery and/or insurance fraud and go to prison. Needless to say, taking that risk is simply not a reasonable option.
I agree with the other lawyer who responded that your mom should discuss the situation with the insurer and try to find a solution. If that doesn't work, she should consult an insurance lawyer. By the way, she should also consult a family lawyer about getting a divorce. The current problem may not be the last one she will ever encounter because of her marrital status.
Good luck to you and your mother.
You cannot cash a check payable to your husband unless you are acting as his power of attorney. The Uniform Commercial Code, which is the basis for states' check cashing laws, says that only the named payee of a check may cash it. However, you can cash a check made payable to both you and your husband if your names are separated by the word "or." If your names are separated by the word "and," you cannot cash the check unless you are with your husband.
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