The COVID-19 pandemic has radically remodeled the way we live and conduct business. Most non-essential companies have shut their offices and established completely remote workforces. Many people may be in quarantine, which means that “inked” signatures on paper can be extremely inconvenient. This reality has concentrated more attention on electronic formats. Electronic signatures apply to both contracts entered into online, such as when finishing an internet transaction or agreeing to an agreement via email and paper records. With businesses wondering under what conditions electronic signatures are binding, this post briefly describes what rules businesses need to understand.
Although eSignatures have been in use long before this pandemic, notarization is typically required in person. However, since the beginning of the France epidemic, the government has signed executive orders approving temporary remote notarization. Unlike eSignatures, remote notarizations are expected to be done via video conference to ensure agreement as much as feasible during this time. For example, the signatory may employ an electronic signature under the legal authorities’ executive order, provided the document can be signed electronically following all the authority’s law. The notary must testify the electronic signature being applied to the document during a video conference if the signer utilizes an electronic signature.
While the E-SIGN law is agnostic as to what technology is used to perform an electronic signature, it is reasonable to follow specific best methods. It is essential to understand the legal value of electronic signature and review any document that needs a signature and confirm that it is not the type of contract obstructed from being signed electronically. Also, if everyone is not in the same room, parties should forward documents from verified email addresses that are authorized to one account holder (as opposed to a shared group email address). It is also essential to examine the relevant jurisdiction rules to guarantee compliance and validity of any eSignature, mainly due to the patchwork of regulations regarding virtual notaries. If attainable, it’s also preferable to have an express declaration of agreement when utilizing eSignatures to bypass having to determine intention to manage the transaction by electronic means from related documents or the control of the concerned parties.
Although several documents, such as wills, trusts, those relating to divorce, individual investments, and contracts administered by the UCC, currently do not come under UETA and E-SIGN. Most legal records (including most UCC records) have been signed by eSignature long before this pandemic. The method of releasing PDF signature pages has made multiple in-person closings for contracts a thing of the past. The “new normal” in the age of Covid-19 proceeds to stimulate the use of eSignatures. The most recent example is that the significant authorities have announced that it will now allow certain documents with electronic signatures in specified conditions. With the expansion of eSignature use in the current climate, you must consider the Docage the French electronic signature solution, and such practices will likely continue to be used once life gets back to normal and offices reopen.