Are free e-signature solutions legally binding?

Jul 23, 2020

Sure, a free e-signature solution sounds good, but is it secure, and are the signatures legally binding? A free e-signature service can provide a secure way for documents to be signed and contracts to be executed. And no matter how much you pay for the solution, a good e-signature solution protects the intent to sign, making your documents legally binding and enforceable in a court of law.

How is an e-signature legally binding?

Two acts establish if documents signed with electronic signatures are legally binding in the United States:

  • Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN)
  • Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)

These acts assure that a document cannot be denied because it was signed using e-signature. And documents signed with free e-signature solutions are legally binding.

Electronic signatures are legally binding in nearly every country around the world thanks to similar acts in the United Kingdom, the European Union among others. 

What e-signature solution enables legally binding signatures?

Finding a secure, online electronic signature service is easy. Search for a service that allows you to retain your documents on secure, cloud-based servers. Also, be sure that the service uses secure authentication and complies with your company regulations. There are internationally accepted laws and regulations that apply to electronic signatures. Before selecting a provider, you want to ensure they are following all the rules and regulations for both your industry and locale. 

Some additional things to ensure the provider allows:

  • Unique digital signatures
  • Able to prove intent to sign
  • Signer authentication and attribution
  • Secure cloud storage
  • Record retention
  • Tamper evident
  • End-to-end encryption and security

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What types of documents can be signed using a free e-signature solution?

Virtually any document can be signed electronically and be considered legally binding. To name just a few examples:

  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Employee contracts
  • Power of attorney agreements
  • Lease documents
  • Medical documents
  • Board consents
  • Terms and conditions

There are a few exceptions that need a wet signature or need a physical presence in order to be legally binding:

  • Court notices, orders, and official documents
  • Divorce decrees
  • Wills and trusts
  • Utility service termination notices
  • Foreclosure, repossession, and eviction notices
  • Insurance benefit cancellations
  • Recalls or material failure alerts
  • Documentation accompanying the transport of hazardous materials
  • Adoption paperwork

Sign from any device at any time

The great benefit of electronic signatures is that contracts can be signed on smartphones, tablets, and computers, location- and time-independent. It is no longer necessary to sing in-person or have documents faxed, mailed, or sent by courier. As we face a global pandemic, having an option to use a free e-signature has taken on new importance. More people are working remotely and need digital solutions to have documents signed.

The fact is, your customers and employees expect to do business digitally these days. To remain competitive, a digital transformation is underway. Many states are specifically allowing fully electronic processes due to COVID-19.

E-Signatures are faster and more flexible

There are many benefits to using digital technology to execute contracts and capture electronic signatures. Arrangements can be signed more quickly, employees onboarded faster, and documents can be signed in hours instead of days.

E-signature solutions feature notifications, so you can know in an instant where the document is in the signing process, thus eliminating any roadblocks. A faster and easier process means more work gets done other than document management.

Implementing digital solutions now will not only improve the business in the short-term during the pandemic, but it will set your company up for success in the future. By integrating e-signature solutions now into business processes, you can ensure that these capabilities become part of your core operations. These solutions can be marketed as a feature for your business, offering capabilities that serve both you and your customer base.

Therefore, don’t wait to get started. Grab a free e-signature solution and bring the process into your workflow. You’ll realize just how fast and convenient e-signature solutions can return legally binding documents.

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