All you need to know about countersignatures

Aug 18, 2021

What is a countersignature?

A countersignature is a signature added to a document already signed by another person and acts as authentication of the materials and agreement to its contents.

What type of documents require a countersignature?

A countersignature is often required for business transactions. All parties involved in the contract need to sign the contract for the agreement to be considered binding. The signatures and countersignatures assure all parties agree to the terms of the contract.

A variety of documents require a countersignature – from government documents to loan paperwork:

  • Cashier’s checks. Money orders. Checks
  • Passports. Visas
  • Drivers licenses
  • Health documents. Insurance policies
  • Loans. Rental and mortgage applications
  • Offer letters. New hire agreements. Employee contracts
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Power of attorney documents
  • Company letters. Board consents. Shareholder agreements
  • Merger and acquisition agreements

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Is a countersignature important?

Yes, a countersignature is essential to ensure that the contract, agreement, or other document is authentic and accepted by all parties. In some cases, a court might uphold a commitment that hasn’t been countersigned if all participants have been acting as if the contract was complete – but this is not a guarantee and varies from state to state.

For example, if payments are made, goods are supplied, and the business relationship continues as if there is a contract in place, a court might agree with an agreement that hasn’t been countersigned. But this is risky. It is in the interest of all parties to sign and countersign the document appropriately and have all commitments in writing to ensure smooth implementation of the contract.

Can you use an e-signature to countersign?

Yes, you can countersign documents using e-signatures. The benefits of using an electronic signature rather than pen and paper are numerous.

  • The signing process is faster and easier allowing documents to be signed in hours or minutes rather than days, or weeks.
  • Notifications are completed automatically, preventing delays and ensuring all parties are signing when needed.
  • When using an online e-signature solution like Countersign, documents are securely backed-up in the cloud, allowing you to instantly access the contract from anywhere.

Electronic signatures are legally binding in the United States, as established by the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). E-signatures are legal as long as:

  1. All parties intended to sign the document.
  2. All parties have agreed to do business electronically.
  3. The signatures securely captured.
  4. The records are adequately retained.

Do all parties have to sign in the same way?

With many electronic signature options, some parties can sign online and some offline, depending on their needs. If you have a client who insists on pen and paper but others who are open to countersigning virtually, many services can accommodate this desire.

What are the benefits of signing electronically?

As more and more people work from home, it is easier than ever to sign documents from any device. We no longer have to arrange client meetings, coordinate schedules, or fax, mail, or courier documents to obtain countersignatures. Processing documents elexfxfctronically is faster, saves money, is more environmentally friendly, and is easier for all parties involved. Online e-signatures solutions like Countersign allow you to monitor each step of the process and ensure the executed contract is completed swiftly.

Electronic signatures are more practical, allow for legally binding countersignatures to be captured quickly and easily, and are becoming a big part of business practices today.

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