Can I Sign a Contract By E-Mail?

by Mert F. Buckley

The short answer is “yes,” if both parties agree to the electronic format. The law recognizes that contracts cannot be denied their legal effect solely because they are in electronic form. In fact, the law even recognizes an “electronic signature,” which is defined as “an electronic sound, symbol, or process attached to or logically associated with a record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” So, typing your name at the end of an email message could be a binding signature to a contract. Certain transactions are excepted from this law which still require original signatures such as wills and testamentary trusts.

The law is the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act [15 U.S.C. Section 7001, et seq. (2000), and the Kansas Uniform Electronic Transfers Act].

(Article appeared in Adams Jones March 2007 Newsletter)