Month: January 2021

Are Electronic Signatures Valid in New York?

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) has been adopted by most of the United States. However, two states – Illinois and New York – have not done so.

This fact has led some to worry about the validity of electronic signatures in these states, particularly in New York, which is the home of the hub of New York City. However, instead of UETA, both Illinois and New York State have adopted their own statutes regarding electronic signatures.

Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA)

In New York, this statue is the Electronic Signatures and Records Act (ESRA). In essence, this law establishes that electronic signatures have the same legal validity as handwritten signatures.

It also confirms that these signatures are admissible in a court of law, as long as they comply with all other rules related to the evidence in question. There is no requirement of using electronic signatures, but it allows its usage is preferred.

However, as with UETA, ESRA does not apply to certain documents. These include documents such as wills and trusts, as well as DNR orders, health care proxies, and documents that grant one person power of attorney over another.

It should be kept in mind that the ESRA can be used to donate organs to the New York State Donate Life Registry for Organ and Tissue Donations. This creates an exception to the provision in the ESRA, which bars the use of electronic signatures to “dispose of an individual’s person or property upon death.”

The ESRA has also resulted in the creation of an ‘electronic facilitator’ in the state’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS). This role is responsible for making the rules and regulations surrounding electronic signatures in New York State widely known among the private and public sectors. Other responsibilities include developing guidelines and standards around the use of electronic signatures, providing up-to-date information regarding the same via the Internet, and more.

Other Guidelines Relating to Electronic Signatures in New York

Aside from the ESRA, New York States must also comply with the guidelines set out in the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (ESIGN) Act.

The ESIGN Act is a federal law that governs the entirety of the United States. This differentiates from UETA, which must first be adopted by each state before it is a law.

The ESIGN Act validates the use of electronic records and signatures regarding transactions relating to interstate and foreign trade. This act means that electronic signatures and contracts cannot be deemed illegal solely because it is in electronic and not manual form. Furthermore, it establishes that a contract cannot be denied legality solely because it involves using an electronic signature or electronic record.

Per the ESIGN Act, to supersede this act, a state must either adopt UETA or specify an alternative law that regulates and allows the use of electronic records and electronic signatures. This law must be consistent with the ESIGN Act and cannot require or give greater legal protection to technical specifications and specific technology.


Thus, while New York State has not adopted UETA, thanks to the combined forces of the ESIGN Act and the ESRA, the use of electronic signatures is still valid in the state.

Posted by Lunar Pen in eSignaure Law, 0 comments