Some states, such as Illinois and New York, have passed their own laws to ensure that electronic signatures have the same validity as handwritten signatures and paper records. Electronic signatures have the same legal status as handwritten signatures in the United States, thanks to the E-Sign Act and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). The answer is yes, but since there are still many doubts that perpetuate the subject, at ZapSign we decided to write this article that details how this validity works and how you can rely on the e-signature service in your company. Business owners and consumers should be aware that legal validity, judicial admissibility and enforceability are not the same. Each concept has its own definition, a set of requirements and, above all, a contribution to the outcome of a dispute. The legal requirements for electronic signatures are generally similar worldwide. For example, the vast majority of jurisdictions state that a document or contract cannot be rejected simply because it was signed electronically. Nevertheless, there are important differences between jurisdictions, particularly with regard to the types of electronic signatures and the few situations where electronic signatures are not accepted. Where federal law is not applicable, most states have adopted the Uniform Electronic Business Act (UETA). Developed by the Commission for the Harmonisation of Laws, UETA provides a legal framework for the use of electronic signatures and helps to ensure that they are just as enforceable as their paper counterparts.
Therefore, when you sign a document electronically, it is valid as soon as you can prove its authenticity and integrity, so it is important to choose the most effective platform. There are different degrees of legality for electronic signatures. The most basic type, standard electronic signatures (SES), does not carry the same weight as a handwritten signature. However, British law considers that a type of electronic signature is equivalent to a handwritten signature. These electronic signatures are called Qualified Electronic Signatures (QES) or Advanced Electronic Signatures (AES). An electronic signature is an electronic symbol, usually the name of the person, attached to a form or contract that shows consent. They are legally binding for all transactions in which they are used. If even a verbal agreement, which could take place, for example, at a bar table with a legitimate pact between the parties (in addition to the witnesses who attended the processing), is contractually valid, the situation could not be different with an electronic signature.
Finding this balance can be challenging, which is why many companies choose a trusted e-signature software platform when dealing with important business issues online. By using established technologies, companies can be confident that contracts are legally valid and authorized, while providing consumers and business partners with a seamless and intuitive signing experience. For an electronic signature to be admissible in court, certain criteria must be met. Anyone wishing to present an electronically signed contract before a judge must be able to prove the intention of the signatory and the security of the signed document. If the document may have been falsified or altered in any way after it was signed, there is a high probability that a judge will refuse admission to court. In particular, an electronically signed document may be legally valid, but may be declared inadmissible in court due to security, audit log, or authentication vulnerabilities. For this reason, it is important that companies choose an electronic signature solution that is highly valued and meets the highest standards of technical integrity. Looking for an easy way to capture electronic signatures? Formstack Sign provides everything you need to collect signatures quickly, easily and securely, while ensuring their legal validity. In this blog post, you`ll learn what makes electronic signatures legally binding, whether they are valid in the United States, whether there are exceptions, what exactly an electronic signature is, and much more.
There is clearly an increase and increasing reliance on electronic signatures to sign agreements and other legal documents. One of the biggest challenges for companies trying to transact electronically is how far they need to go when verifying and authenticating signers. For many businesses, the ultimate goal is to create a legally valid and admissible contract in court, without establishing a cumbersome process for people whose signatures are required to complete transactions. This means that the tools you use to capture signatures must also be able to collect and store related documentation. One way to do this is to provide the signer with a fully executed copy of the signed document once it is ready. Another option is to automatically send (and store) information to a secure database from which you can retrieve it when needed. It is rare for electronic signatures to be challenged in court. But if that ever happens to your business, Adobe is here for you. Whether it`s explaining our solution, making affidavits, or appearing for a Person Most Knowledgeable (PMK) statement, Adobe can help you defend the legality of our e-signature solution.
Here are the basic features of a legally binding electronic signature. Although this overview is based on the principles of U.S. law, most of the principles can be applied to electronic signatures in other parts of the world, which we will discuss in the next section. The E-Sign Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton on June 30, 2000, gave electronic signatures the same legal status as handwritten signatures in the United States. The E-Sign law allows the contract to be used as evidence in court and prevents the denial of the legal effect, validity or enforceability of an electronically signed document simply because it is in electronic form. Already a digital signature, which corresponds to the physical signature of a document, but on a digital medium. In this case, legal validation is carried out by means of encryption, which makes a virtual certificate issued by regulatory authorities such as ICP-Brazil mandatory. The Regulation on Electronic Identification and Trust Services (eIDAS) makes any type of electronic signature legal and enforceable.
But only a certain type, the so-called digital signature, receives the same status as a handwritten signature. Electronic signatures have the same status as «wet» signatures since they were legally recognized in both the ESIGN Act and similar international laws in 2000. Electronic signatures have had the same legal weight as traditional paper signatures since the passage of the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and Domestic Commerce Act (ESIGN) in 2000. This legislation ensures that electronic signatures are legally binding in all states where federal law applies. Yes, electronic signatures are valid in all U.S. states and have the same legal status as handwritten signatures under state law.