Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding in New York?

Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding in New York?

Are Electronic Signatures Legally Binding in New York?

New York is one of two states not to pass the UETA act. Instead, the state government passed the Esign & Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA).

The ESRA notes that “signatures” made via electronic means will be just as legally binding as hand-written signatures are. The law also enhances and clarifies the authority of government to create and retain records in computer-produced electronic form.

The legislation designates the state Office of Information Technology Services as the Electronic Facilitator responsible for promoting and enforcing ESRA regulations.

As the Electronic Facilitator, ITS assists private and public sector parties in understanding and using the Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA) to support and encourage electronic commerce and electronic government in New York State.

 The eSign act is known as federal law, meaning New York must abide by the requirements for electronic signatures.

What is the ESIGN Act?

The eSign Act was passed by the senate in 2000 to help regulate the use of electronic signature and electronic documents.

There are four major requirements for an electronic signature to be recognized as legal under U.S. law.

Some notable changes are due to be passed by the senate, stay up to date with what’s happened so far below:

The Senate’s Key Changes to the eSign Act

The UETA & eSign requirements for New York are:

1) Intent to Sign

No different than a wet signature, e-signatures are only considered valid if a user demonstrates a clear intent to sign which Signable provides.

 

3) Clear signature association

Signable provides a clear and detailed audit trail that provides clear signature association once everyone has signed a document.

Everyone involved receives an email that includes the completed electronic document attached as a PDF and a certificate of signature.

The certificate of signature is an important document that includes important information including:

 

  • Who each signing party is
  • Dates, time stamps, IP addresses and fingerprints
  • A full audit log or audit trail

2) Consent to do business electronically

There must be expressed or implied consent from the signing parties to do business electronically. Signers also have the option to opt-out.

 

4) Record retention

E-signature records are only valid as long as they can be reproduced if required. Signable provides a signed copy via PDF and allows parties to download the document when required.

Signable provides all of the above, meaning that you can trust your documents will be legally binding in the US.

It’s worth noting that in the US electronic signatures and digital signatures are both popular and we provide e-signature services.

You can find out more about the difference between an electronic signature and a digital signature here.

What documents can’t be signed under these laws?

We’ll include a link to the full list of documents that are currently not available for electronic signing in the US. But, to name a few:

  • Documents relating to adoption, divorce and other family law matters
  • Some types of real estate transfer documents and other real estate agreements
  • Court orders, notices, and other court documents like pleadings and motions
  • Some types of powers of attorney
  • Wills, codicils, and testamentary trusts
  • It’s also worth noting that last year the Uniform Law Commission declared eSignatures legal for wills BUT only in some states, so follow the link we’ll include somewhere below to see if will eSignatures are legal your state.