How to Send and Sign Contracts When Working From Home

Electronic digital signature has been used all over the world for quite some time. Entrepreneurs use it every day when working with a bank and submit electronic reports to the tax service and other authorities. Now the scope of application of e-signature is expanding, and one of these new opportunities is signing contracts, acts, and various documents in electronic form. How to e-Sign a Document In 90 Seconds? 

E-signature is an electronic digital signature. This is the analog of a regular signature in the digital world of the Internet. An electronic signature saves a lot of time and money: you do not have to print an agreed contract and send its paper version, and then buy large cabinets to store all documents in folders.

Electronic digital signature: how to sign contracts and forget about waste paper

For an agreement concluded remotely (including via the Internet) to have legal force, by law, it is necessary to sign documents, as well as exchange them. An e-signature can be considered an analog of a handwritten signature, if the parties expressly agree. One way or another, it should follow that an electronic signature supports your electronic document. For the email address itself to be considered a simple electronic signature, it should be explicitly provided for in the agreement that all emails sent from the parties’ email addresses are deemed signed with a simple electronic signature – an email address. Your understanding of the use of electronic signatures (it can be a separate agreement on the use of electronic signatures or part of the main contract) should clearly indicate how to determine the person who signs the electronic signature, i.e., how to match a specific electronic signature and a particular person (counterparty to the transaction).

To keep every signed document in a precise order, use a document management/control software to handle not only the electronic signatures but to keep track of who signed, where the document fits in the flow of a project, and have more agency over document review. Processing and managing documents this way reduces wasted time and increases efficiency throughout the process.

Conditions for recognizing legal force for contracts signed by an electronic signature

The agreement on the use of electronic signatures should provide the parties’ obligation to maintain the confidentiality of their electronic signature (for example, not to transfer a password, not to assign access to email, etc.). Conclusion of an agreement in electronic form and the Law on Electronic Signature is a new milestone in the development of electronic document management – there you will find recommendations for processing transactions via the Internet, not all of which are duplicated here.

How to electronically sign a PDF

If you have been sent a document for signing using Lumin PDF, you will receive an email notification with a link to add a signature to the document. If you are using the Lumin PDF desktop app, you will see a notification that the document has been sent to you for signing. To sign a document sent to you using Lumin PDF, do one of the following: 

Sign PDF contract electronically

To sign a document or PDF form, you can enter, draw, or insert an image of your signature. You can also add text such as name, company, title, or date. When you save the document, the signature and text become part of the PDF document. After filling out the form, you can share the PDF file with other users. To share a form, follow the instructions in the Submit a form article.

Receiving signed PDF documents via Lumin PDF

You can receive documents signed by other users using the sign tool powered by Lumin PDF cloud services. This speeds up the process: signers can sign a document from anywhere in the world via a web browser or mobile device. Signers do not need to enter credentials or purchase any Lumin PDF software to sign agreements. Signers receive an email requesting to sign documents. Once signed, you and the signers receive the signed PDF by email. You can track the entire signing process in Lumin PDF.

Legal force of an electronic contract

An agreement signed with a simple electronic signature is considered to be concluded in writing. The electronic form of the contract is not an independent form but is a kind of written form of the contract. If you do not include in your correspondence the condition for recognizing the email address as a simple electronic signature, then such documents will not be considered signed. The agreement, accordingly, will not be considered concluded in writing (in the absence of a signature). However, such documents will not lose legal force as written evidence. If the law does not directly provide for such a consequence of non-compliance with the written form of the transaction as its nullity, you can refer to written evidence, such as proof of the terms of your transaction (unsigned agreement). So, for the contract to provide services, its nullity is not provided for if the written form is not followed.

Myth #1: Digitally signed documents are not legal

Two principal regulations regulate the use of E-SIGNATURE: the laws “On electronic digital signature” and “On electronic documents and electronic document management.” There are also by-laws, but most of them relate to the certification of centers for issuing keys and the use of E-SIGNATURE in government bodies. 

Myth #2: Digitally signed documents are not viable for IRS

In this case, the IRS office has no legal basis for requiring paper copies of documents, since the law obliges to provide copies without specifying their type. Therefore, an electronic copy will be sufficient. Moreover, the courts clearly understand that a paper copy of an electronic document is only its graphic representation, and not the original itself. An electronic document is a set of data that can be read electronically. Consequently, the provision of printouts, on the contrary, would be a violation of the law: such “copies,” in fact, are not copies of electronic documents.

Myth #3: Digitally signed documents are not valid for court

This is not entirely true. First of all, it is necessary to distinguish documents with e-signature and without such a signature. As a rule, difficulties arise with documents without an e-signature, since it is difficult to establish who exactly sent this or that document and whether this person is endowed with appropriate powers.

But with documents certified by e-signature, such problems do not arise. Indeed, at first, the courts were skeptical about applying such documents, pointing out that the written form and the electronic form are not the same things. And since the civil code requires documents to be signed in the original (paper version), they are unacceptable in electronic form. However, an appeal based on the results of such a position interprets that the conclusion of contracts using the e-signature is an appropriate way of securing the will of the parties. Thus, there are no problems with using e-signature today. If at the very beginning there were real difficulties in the practical application of e-signature, now there are no problems. In addition to private initiatives, there are also free alternatives that you can use in your business.