Where in the World Can You Sign Documents Online Legally
“I know I can sign and submit my taxes online, but is there any way that I can sign and send back a contract online?” This is a great question, and a good way to open a brief discussion about the ways you might find to legally sign documents online.
Let’s start by putting that emphasis on “legally” because that is the biggest issue. You can create the most tightly structured contract or a document that is taken directly from a law book, but if the signatures on that document can be easily challenged and overridden it was a waste of time altogether. This is why you have to work only with an online electronic signature website that assures you that all signatures are going to be legal and authentic.
For example, the site known as SignSquid.com was actually designed (in part) by a legal team conversant with all of the laws surrounding electronic signatures. Because of that, they guarantee that any challenges to documents signed through their site will receive the full attention of their team, and that this team will step up to bat for the document in question.
The System Used
You see, the problems with electronically signed documents are never something like: “Is this document signed?”
Instead, the problems tend to be: “Is this really YOUR signature?”
Clearly, when something is not signed “by hand” it can be very hard to prove who approved the document.
This is why the legal team at SignSquid.com established a two step authentication procedure. In a nutshell it goes like this:
- You create the document and save it in the popular .PDF format
- This is uploaded to the site, named, and saved
- You invite the people who must sign it and give some of the authentication information
- They receive an email with a unique URL that takes them to an individual authentication page
- At the page they must follow the steps to get a secondary (phone) authentication too
- Once they have done this they can access the file and make the signatures required
The reason that this approach would hold up in court is because there is no real chance for the wrong person to sign the document. Of course, if they had hacked your email and had your home phone or cell phone in their hand they could succeed, but that is not likely to occur.
Consider too that this method ensures that no one can change anything in the document. In the past people would send each other the documents via email. One would print it out, scan it, and email the new file back. This would mean that the recipient would have to read the document carefully to ensure that it was indeed the “word for word” version of the original file. Clearly, this was a serious hassle and required time and effort.
The electronic signature approach eliminates the opportunity for any sort of fraudulent behaviors and document alterations, and just demands that the visitor authenticates their identity and approve of the document. This completes the process and triggers an email to each signatory in order to allow them to save or to print a copy of the fully signed agreement.
The Modern World
So, this means that anyone can use this sort of service? Yes, a legal professional or a “soccer mom” can create the documents that need to be signed, and then send them to whomever must sign them to activate them.
This is why business professionals from all corners of the world are really getting tuned into electronic documents and signatures. Just think, a small business owner in Europe could establish some sort of working relationship with a small business owner in New York City. If the two want to create specific terms for their partnership, they can put them into a contract and use a service like SignSquid.com to legally sign the contract and each retain a copy.
They would have to know the language and structure to use for their international agreement, but places like the European Union, the U.S., and Australia are already more than happy to view electronic signatures in the same way as “pen and paper” documents. This means that it requires only a bit of knowledge in drafting the document in order to get an entirely legal one completed.
Because the same method for signing would apply to anyone using this system, the contract or document can be created, sent, signed, and legally executed in a matter of hours – no matter where the signatories were located!
If you like the idea of a paperless world, total signatory authentication, amazing convenience, and legally recognized validity to any document, electronic signatures are definitely something for you to explore today.