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The U.S. ESIGN Act of 2000 legalized electronic signatures in all states and territories where federal law is applicable. In areas where federal law does not apply, the U.S. states have largely adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). Although eSignatures are valid in all 50 states some states such as Tennessee or New York have added additional laws that add requirements to make eSignatures valid or determine what sort of documents can be signed.

As a general rule esignatures are legally enforceable and given the same weight as handwritten signatures so long as certain requirements are met.

There are 2 types of electronic signatures.

  • - Electronic signatures
  • - Digital signatures

E-signatures

Electronic signatures, or eSignatures, are any electronic processes that show acceptance of a document or agreement. Most eSignature solutions in the U.S. fit into this broad category. Various electronic authentication methods are used to confirm the signer's identity, including email, corporate ID, password protection, or a PIN sent to a mobile device. The proof of signing is shown through a secure process, which often includes an audit trail and a final tamper-evident digital certificate incorporated into the finished signed document.

Digital Signatures

Digital signatures use a digital certificate from a trust service provider (TSP) like a certificate authority (CA) to verify a signer's identity. These digital certificates provide proof of signing by linking the digital certificate associated with each signature to the document through encryption.

You must have the following elements:

  • Intent to Electronically Sign.
  • Just like a physical signature, the intent to sign an agreement electronically must be clear. This can be demonstrated by drawing a signature using a mouse, typing their name, or clicking a clearly labeled "Accept" button.
  • Consent for Electronic Transactions. Most laws regarding electronic signatures necessitate consent for conducting business electronically.
  • Option to Opt-Out.
  • If a signer chooses to opt out of electronically signing an agreement, clear instructions for manually signing the agreement should be easily available in the signature process.
  • Provision of Signed Copies.
  • All signers should receive a fully executed copy of the agreement. Many electronic signature platforms automatically provide executed copies of agreements to signers during the approval process.
  • Record Keeping.
  • The ESIGN Act addresses record keeping requirements, validating electronic records as long as they accurately represent the agreement and can be reproduced as necessary. This requirement is typically met by providing a fully executed copy to the signer or allowing the signer to download a copy of the agreement.

Documents that cannot be signed

  • - Wills
  • - Trusts
  • - Adoption Papers
  • - Divorce Paperwork
  • - Cour Orders
  • - Documents filed with the courts
  • - Notice of eviction
  • - Notice of foreclosure
  • - Notice of Default
  • - Termination of health insurance
  • - Termination of life insurance policy
  • - Any document with hazardous materials
  • - Cancellation of heat

The following elements of compliance available within BoldSign can be used to comply with United States eSignature laws:

  • Secure and unique signing link: A secure and unique link to sign a document is sent directly to the signer's email address. This helps to ensure that the document is only accessed by the intended signer and that it cannot be tampered with.
  • Password protection: Senders can specify a password that needs to be entered before viewing and signing a document. This adds an additional layer of security to the signing process.
  • Audit trail: The IP address of the signer along with timestamps for all major events in the signing process are recorded in an audit trail. This provides a record of who signed the document, when they signed it, and from where they signed it.
  • Digital signature: The final signed document is digitally signed with an AATL compliant certificate. This ensures that the document cannot be tampered with without invalidating the signature.
  • Consent: Signers are asked to confirm their intent to sign electronically and are also informed that they have an option to opt out. This helps to ensure that the signer is aware of the implications of signing electronically and that they have given their consent to do so.
  • Custom terms: There is an option to get your signers to agree to a custom set of terms. This can be useful for adding additional security or ensuring that the signer understands the terms of the document.

Disclaimer: Information on this page is intended to help businesses understand the legal framework of electronic signatures for this particular country. However, Syncfusion, its  officers, directors, stockholders, affiliates, attorneys, accountants, employees or agents cannot provide legal advice. You should consult your own personal attorney regarding your specific legal questions. Laws and regulations change frequently, and this information may not be current or accurate. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Syncfusion  provides this material on an “as-is” basis. Syncfusion disclaims and makes no representation or warranty of any kind with respect to this material, express, implied or statutory, including representations, guarantees or warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or accuracy.’

Syncfusion makes no warranties of any kind, including but not limited with respect the information or the product, whether express, implied, statutory or otherwise. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Syncfusion disclaims all conditions, representations and warranties, whether express implied or statutory with respect to this information without limitation any implied warranty of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, accuracy or currentness of this information.

Syncfusion nor their officers, directors, stockholders, employees, affiliates, attorneys, accountants or agents, shall be entitled to indemnification, express or implied, contractual or statutory, equitable or otherwise, under this Agreement.