How and when electronic signatures are considered valid?
We’re living in a technology-savvy world. E-signatures were introduced years ago & are in use already. You may be using them with your Email or important documents that need to be authorized by your name.
Well, when it comes to signing legal documents digitally, anyone will pause for thought – ‘should I do it or not?’
Those of you who haven’t used e-signatures yet might be puzzled thinking if they are valid, binding, or enforceable. Let us take you through this.
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Can you consider electronic signatures valid?
To be honest, yes! Digital signatures, also popularly called electronic signatures are valid and enforceable. They bind the parties just like traditionally signed documents.
If you want a further explanation, let us tell you that the major purpose of legal documents is to bind the parties. This can be easily fulfilled with both – manual and digital signatures.
Three Requirements to take into account
You have to keep the following basic requirements in mind while considering e-signatures are valid or not:
- The parties signing the document must consent to the digital signature. For B2B purposes, consent can be circumstantial while it may be affirmative for B2C.
- Record the process used to create a digital signature so that future disputes can be tackled.
- Parties must retain the records of digital signature and they should be available for accurate reproduction.
Also, we don’t say that this permits you to use electronic signatures wherever you want. A digitally signed contract may face the same scrutiny in a court of Law similar to its paper counterpart.
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What cannot be E-signed?
By the time you’re learning about digital signatures, let us tell you what cannot be digitally signed.
Frankly, e-signatures fail to meet the extra layer of identification or notarization. Also, you don’t have any pieces of evidence or witnesses against whom the legal document is signed.
Digitally signed documents often impose an added risk of fraud. This includes wills, power of attorneys, sworn statements, and so on.
In certain corporate settings, it may be commonly used while for certain legal proceedings, it’s better if you sign the document manually.
Should you use E-signature?
Digital signatures are simplifying our lives in one way. They’re exposing us to the risks of being forged on the other hand. A lot of E-signature apps are available that help you create a hand-drawn signature too. However, it depends on the requirements of the situation. You may or may not choose to go with E-signatures as per the demand of the situation.
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