eSign Documents

Electronic signatures (e-signatures) have become increasingly popular in recent years, with the convenience and efficiency of e-signing documents anytime, anywhere.

How to e-sign a document?

e-signing a document is a straightforward process with a few simple steps:

Step 1: Choose an e-signature tool.

Among the numerous, choose the one that best suits your needs and budget. Subscription plans allow you to select specific functionalities based on the latest technology, workflow, integration, and simplicity.

Step 2: Upload the Document.

The next step is to upload the document that needs to be signed. The document can be a pdf file, a pdf form, or a simple Word document. Most e-signature tools allow you to upload documents from your computer, cloud storage, or email. You can upload multiple documents, if necessary.

Step 3: Add Signers.

Most e-signature tools allow you to add signers by entering their names and email addresses. Some advanced and premium tools permit you to send reminder emails, too. If the document you uploaded is to be signed by you, then you can skip to step 6.

Step 4: Add Signature Fields.

Add the signature fields to the document to indicate where the signers need to sign the document. Most e-signature tools allow you to drag and drop signature fields. There may also be options for you to add fields such as date, timestamp, or address.

Step 5: Send the Document.

Now, send the document to the signers for their signature. Most e-signature tools allow you to send it via email or through a link. Either way, signers will access the document even if they do not use the same e-signature tool.

Step 6: Sign the Document.

Once the signers receive the document, they can sign it by following the instructions in the email or link. Most e-signature tools allow signers to sign the document using their mouse, finger, or a stylus. So, you can draw your signature as you would on a piece of paper. There will also be an option to upload a scanned image of your signature.

The recipient cannot edit certain parts of the document. If changes are required, they can choose not to sign it. They can contact you via email or text to make the alterations before signing.

In cases with multiple signers, some tools can automate the process. Once the previous signer has signed, the document is automatically sent to the next signer.

Step 7: Finalize the Document.

Once all signers have signed the document, you can finalize it.

Reasons to e-sign Documents Online

e-signatures are a convenient and efficient way to sign documents. Here are some of the reasons/benefits why e-signatures are preferable by many businesses:

  • Convenience: e-signatures eliminate the need to print, sign, and scan documents, saving time and resources.
  • Efficiency: e-signatures speed up the signing process, allowing businesses to sign and send documents in real time. E-signature also enables faster turnaround times for signing documents. With e-signature, you can sign a document instantly, eliminating the need to wait for physical signatures or mail delivery. So, you can speed up business processes and improve efficiency.
  • Accessibility: e-signatures can be signed from anywhere, making it easy for companies to sign documents on the go.
  • Cost-Effective: e-signatures reduce the costs associated with printing, mailing, and storage. With e-signature, you can sign a document from anywhere, regardless of time, using any device.
  • Security: e-signatures are encrypted and secure, reducing the risk of document tampering or fraud. E-signature platforms use advanced encryption technologies to ensure the safety and authenticity of electronic signatures.
  • Tracking: Unique e-signature platforms provide audit trails. These trails track each action taken on a document. This record shows who signed the document and when. It makes e-signature more secure and tamper-proof than traditional signature methods.

Federal Rules for Document E-sign

Federal law in the United States regulates the use of e-signatures. The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act of 2000 and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act of 1999 provide the legal framework for e-signatures.

Under the E-SIGN Act and UETA, e-signatures are legally binding and enforceable in court. However, specific requirements must be satisfied for e-signatures to be valid:

  1. Consent
  2. Intent to sign
  3. Association (The e-signature must be associated with the record signed.)
  4. Record retention

In addition to federal law, some states have laws governing the use of e-signatures. It is essential to check your state's laws to ensure compliance.

Are Documents Signed Online Legally Binding?

Yes, documents signed online using e-signatures are legally binding and enforceable in court. The E-SIGN Act and UETA provide the legal framework for e-signatures in B2B and B2C transactions.

Ensure the e-signature tool meets the requirements of federal and state laws. These requirements include verifying the identity of signers, capturing consent and intent to sign, and retaining an electronic record.

The legal validity of e-signatures has been tested and upheld in numerous court cases. The court case Specht v. Netscape Communications Corp. is an example of enforceable e-signature use. The parties had agreed to use electronic signatures and the signer gave informed consent.