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The UETA and the ESIGN Act

by stacy

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) 1999 and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) 2000 both recognize the validity and enforceability of electronic signatures in the United States.

The UETA and the ESIGN Act only apply to commercial transactions, and as a result, they do not apply to records that are used unilaterally or that do not related to business, commercial (including consumer), or governmental matters of any kind. Also included in the legislation are exceptions to the use of electronic signatures in some types of documents, such as those dealing with the creation and execution of wills as well as adoption, divorce, and other family law procedures. Please evaluate the list of exemptions under Section 103 of the ESIGN Act, and contact legal counsel to determine any categories of exclusion that may apply to your situation.

State laws authenticating electronic signatures have been established in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands; all but three have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which is the federal standard (UETA). Illinois, New York, and Washington have not ratified the UETA, although they do have statutes that validate electronic transactions that are similar to it.

Understanding the ESIGN Act and how to comply with it
When determining whether or not an electronic signature complies with the ESIGN Act, the law takes into consideration several important factors. If you make certain that your electronic signature provider has addressed these issues, you may be assured that your eSignatures will be legitimate and enforceable in the United States of America.

Understanding the ESIGN Act compliance

All parties to an agreement or transaction must agree that the agreement or transaction will be conducted solely through electronic means. As a result, the UETA specifically states that the parties’ agreement is to be determined from all circumstances, including the parties’ behavior. This consent may be either expressed or inferred in nature.
Is this something that happens with SignEasy?

Yes. When you sign and finalize a document within SignEasy, you will be required to indicate that you are comfortable with the idea of electronically signing documents.
With the intent to sign
Electronic signatures, like pen-and-paper signatures, are only legitimate if they were intended to be signed by both parties.
Is this something that happens with SignEasy?

Yes. It is possible to deny signature requests in SignEasy, thereby allowing the parties to select whether or not they want to finish the transaction using an electronic signature.
The signature is associated with the record in some way.
An electronic signature must be related or associated with the document that is being signed, either by stating the procedure by which the signature was formed or by making a graphical or textual declaration that is then added to the signed record, for it to be effective.
Is this something that happens with SignEasy?

Yes. If an electronic signature is part of a document signed and delivered by the signer, SignEasy does not allow for the transmission of that signature to anybody other than the signer. When signing a document, you have the option of either drawing your signature on the device’s touchscreen with your finger or a pen, pasting an image of your signature on the page, or typing your signature into one of the existing template fields. When an eSignature is placed on an electronic document at the time it is signed, it is saved as a part of the PDF document in all of these instances.
Attribution
The electronic signature must be traceable back to the person who is signing it, else it is invalid. According to the context and conditions in which the document is signed, the attribution of an electronic signature to a specific individual will be determined by the signing party. There are several ways to accomplish this, including documenting the communications and activities of the participants and maintaining an audit trail.
Is this something that happens with SignEasy?

Yes. Every time you sign a document on SignEasy, you’ll receive a copy of the document you signed as well as a complete audit trail for legal evidence, which will include the signer’s email ID, device IP, signature timestamp, and other information.

Are electronic signatures legally binding and enforceable?

Electronic signatures on documents must be stored in the form of an electronic record that the recipient can access and retain at the moment of receipt of the document. The capacity of the recipient to print or save the electronic record for subsequent reference must not be hindered by the sender or by the information processing system used to create it.
Is this something that happens with SignEasy?

Yes. SignEasy protects your original and signed documents with AES 256 encryption at rest and 256-bit SSL encryption while in transit, ensuring that they remain safe and secure. If you want to keep the signed document on your device, you may either download it or store it in your SignEasy account. Furthermore, SignEasy offers you the option to erase or delete them whenever you choose. We also produce an audit trail that can be used for future reference.
Does the use of electronic signatures make them legally enforceable and binding?
Both the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act expressly state that “a signature, contract, or other record relating to such [commercial] transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity, or enforceability solely based on its being in electronic form.”

In the legal world, an electronic signature is described as an electronic sound, symbol, or procedure attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the contract or other document

When specific prerequisites are met, electronic signatures are legitimate and enforceable, according to the general norm established by the acts. In the United States, the legal admissibility of electronic signatures has been well established for many years. It is critical to keep an audit trail that records the steps made by the parties who are electronically signing documents to verify that the electronic document can be authenticated and admitted as evidence.

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