Now is the time to switch to electronic signatures
With social distancing a must during the pandemic, electronic signatures for document just make sense
Businesses are striving to continue to operate normally during the COVID-19 world-wide pandemic. With restrictions on physical meetings, with many businesses are now operating as much as possible remotely. This may raise the question: how to execute documents in these circumstances? Do you wonder whether it is possible to validly execute documents by electronic signature? The short answer is, electronic signatures can be validly used in many circumstances.
An electronic signature allows a person to electronically add a signature to an online contract. Electronic Signatures (or eSignatures) are a digital version of the paper-based method of signing signatures, the person with the intent to sign simply electronically signs the document. This removes the need for handwritten signatures. A digital signature is a different method of validating an online document. Encryption software is required. This involves electronic data, encrypted message and encryption protections. Whilst a digital signature can be grouped with the category of electronic signature, it uses algorithms to create a digital fingerprint or private key (or secret key) unique to your document.
In the EU, with the Directive 1999/93/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 1999 with ‘Community Framework for electronic signatures’establishes the legal framework at an European level for electronic signatures and certi cation services. The aim was to make electronic signatures easier to use and help them become legally recognized within the Member States.
In the US, digital signatures are valid and enforceable. As long as certain requirements are met, they have the same legal effect as their written equivalents. There are circumstances where e-signatures may not be practical. For example, when it comes to documents that need an extra layer of identification, notarization, or one or more witnesses.
This article from Lexology goes into even greater detail.