Can you use an electronic signature on Deeds?

Let’s set the scene…

Most businesses are now investing in some sort of digital infrastructure. Based on Lloyd’s Bank Digital Index 2019:

‘nearly one in every two small businesses are digitally advanced’. 

To put it simply, if you haven’t signed something electronically yet, you’re in the minority. Electronic signing is safer, quicker and cheaper than sending in the post or via fax. Customers and clients now have a certain expectation of businesses to be pushing towards digital advancement. Electronically signing and filing is a huge part of this development.

While the majority of contracts and documents can be processed digitally, there’s still a few exceptions to the rule of electronic signing. But why are certain documents impossible to sign online? Will we see the law change in the aftermath of a global pandemic?

Let’s talk about it!

 

electronic signature deeds

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Requirements for documents to be signed electronically

For a document to be legally electronically signed there’s a few guidelines that must be complied with. Signable complies and actually exceeds what’s required for esignatures to be legally binding. 

To ensure your documents are binding we offer a full certificate of authenticity with every document signed. This includes a breakdown of who signed, their IP addresses and the document’s unique fingerprint. 

Most documents are legally accepted by the EU regulation of electronic signing, eIDAS, and by the eSign act and UETA in the US. Both outline what document can’t be signed electronically. 

Many electronic signing laws have been changed across the globe to make life easier for businesses working remotely. As a result the laws have changed around deeds.

Can you use an electronic signature on a deed?

In short, yes. But, there’s some things you have to make sure of.

Deeds must be physically witnessed and cannot be witnessed over video call or any other means. The witness must clearly see the signer electronically sign and then sign electronically themselves. It’s recommended that whoever is drawing up the deed should include a clause for the witness to further confirm they were physically present to witness the electronic signing. 

“We will accept for registration transfers and certain other deeds (see 13.4 Deeds that can be signed electronically) that have been electronically signed provided that the requirements set out in 13.3 Our requirements are satisfied.”

GOV.UK (HM Land Registry)

So, long story short, you CAN use an electronic signature for a deed.

Will we be able to eWitness a deed soon? 

Difficulties with lockdowns and travel restrictions have meant the government has been forced to look at the laws that have been in place for, in some cases, hundreds of years. If we are to move on and adapt our way of living, technology must be at the forefront of it. 

As we’ve seen with the 2020 legislation surrounding wills and codicils, the law has been changed to accommodate the struggles of Lockdown. Meaning that wills are now able to be witnessed electronically, through the likes of Zoom and Skype. 

We hope this is a sign of the future and will hopefully see the advancement of laws around deeds. We also foresee further developments to allow wills to be signed electronically in the near future. 

We’ll keep you updated with any new information on deeds and wills and how the laws change over the coming years.

 

What can be eWitnessed and how does it work?

electronic signature deed

About Sophie Torry-Cook

Sophie is Signable's in-house writer and digi-designer. She loves soft cats, black coffee and trawling for fashion bargains.