Electronic Signatures are Generally Enforceable

Electronic Signatures are Generally Enforceable

Now more than ever, the transaction of business is dependent on the use of electronic means to secure a person’s signature. Everything from change of beneficiary designations to purchase agreements can now be signed electronically. While there are a few exceptions to this general rule – notably, estate planning documents still require a traditional written signature – people have become accustomed to electronic signatures.

Both the federal government and the state of Michigan have had laws favoring electronic signatures for quite some time now. Michigan enacted its Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in October of 2000. While Michigan does require all parties to an agreement to consent to the enforceability of electronic signatures, its applicability is very broad. For example, an electronic signature can be a “sound, symbol or process” which is “executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” This broad language opens the door to the enforceability of agreements made by email, text, facsimile and even voicemail. The use of these mediums to contract with others is unquestionably convenient but can also be dangerous. A person may discover that a few exchanged voicemails may have contractually obligated them to an agreement they didn’t necessarily expect.

Electronic signatures can also be obtained with a more formal approach. A cottage industry of electronic signature software has popped up in response to many states adopting laws similar to Michigan’s Act. Companies like DocuSign, Adobe and zipLogix have made obtaining electronic signatures easier than ever. Many realtors and financial industry professionals, for example, now rely every day on the use of electronic signatures to execute transactions.

This trend does not appear to be going anywhere. The Michigan Court of Appeals has looked at the use of electronic signatures and found that there are many ways to determine that a person intended to be bound by an electronic signature. They have also determined that a person’s technological literacy may impact the enforceability of an electronic signature. In a country where most people own and use a smart phone, the courts will likely continue to favor the use of electronic signatures.


Cunningham Dalman, PC publishes this web site and its component parts to inform users about our firm, our attorneys and general new developments in the law. The web site and blogs are not intended as legal advice on any matter. There are many factors that may affect your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting because of information found here without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from someone who is familiar with your particular circumstances.

In the operation of this web site and our blogs, we do not intend to create an attorney-client relationship with you and no such relationship shall be created by your use of this web site. Such a relationship can only be established to the extent an attorney at Cunningham Dalman, PC expressly agrees to undertake the relationship. Please do not communicate to us any information you regard as confidential unless and until we have established a formal attorney-client relationship with you. Any information you send to us before we establish an attorney client relationship may not be privileged or confidential. Information you send to us over the Internet may not be secure.

Our Practice Areas
Our Practice Areas

Recent Posts


Cunningham Dalman P.C.
PO Box 1767
321 Settlers Road
Holland, MI 49422-1767

Google Map


Best Law Firm 2023 - Best of the Best
Scroll to Top

Tell Us How We Can Help You

Send us a quick message or call us at 616.392.1821!

Seminar Registration

Fill in the form below to reserve your spot today for each person attending. If you have any questions, please call the office at 616.392.1821.

Call Now Button