Electronic Signature is Here to Stay

An Electronic Signature is becoming more accepted. Electronic documents and signatures are recognized in many state as just as valid and legal as paper documents and ink signatures. States that have not yet recognized electronic documents and signatures will do so soon. So they are here to stay.

Commonly used terms in this technology are:

#Electronic Record – any contract or communication that is transmitted or stored in e-mail, exists on the internet, or is stored on a computer disk.

#Electronic Signature – can be an actual signature that is scanned and digitized, it can be signed on a digitized pad, or it can be just a matter of pushing a button on a computer validating consent.

#Digital Signature – a signature that has been encrypted into a code that can only be deciphered by a computer user with a specific “key” to unlock the code.

Electronic documents and signatures are created by computer and transmitted using a “key” that translates the signature into a type of computer language (encryption). The encryption is a code that cannot be deciphered by anyone other than the designated receiver of the document who also has a “key.” That key translates the document back into its normal format so that it can be read. If the document is somehow intercepted over the internet, it is basically unusable because it cannot be read.

Encryption keys can be purchased from certain software companies and cost about $100 per year to use.

For an electronic document to be used, all parties must consent to the electronic document itself as well as to the electronic transmission of that document.

Many times, the notarization of electronic documents is absolutely necessary. Since the document signer and the document receiver are not in the same place, a notarization can validate the identity of the signer as well as the fact that the document was electronically signed by the signer.

For the notary, many of the same rules apply with electronic signature as with a paper document:

*The signer must appear before you,

*You must positively identify the signer,

*They must electronically sign the document in your presence or acknowledge having signed, and

*A journal entry must be made and a thumbprint taken, if necessary.

An electronic notarization is completed by typing the necessary information directly onto the notarial certificate on the computer, sign the certificate by whatever means are being used, and below your signature you would type your name and the words “Notary Public”, the county in which your oath and bond are on file, your commission number or expiration.

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