Does your jurisdiction maintain a list of trusted entities to qualify e-signatures?
No, Texas does not seem to maintain a list of trusted entities to qualify e-signatures. Under the UETA and URPERA, an e-signature is any “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.” Similarly, under the Texas Information Resources Management Act, which Texas agencies must follow, an e-signature is “an electronic identifier intended by a person . . . to have the same force and effect as . . . a manual signature.”
Please provide a quick overview of the law, i.e., types of contracts that qualify for use with e-signature.
UETA governs all transactions in Texas except those related to the creation and execution of wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts. It also does not apply to transactions governed by the UCC unless the transaction concerns UCC §§ 1.103 and 1.206, and UCC Chapters 2 and 2A. Similarly, URPERA permits the electronic filing—and therefore accepts e-signatures—of real property documents and agreements.
What is the legality of e-signatures in your jurisdiction? Are there key exceptions?
E-Signatures are valid and enforceable in the State of Texas so long as they comply with the requirements delineated in each governing statute. For example, UETA transactions containing e-signatures are valid and enforceable only if all parties subject to the agreement have expressed consent and intent to enter and conduct the transaction electronically. Similarly, the e-signatures on notarial acts are legal so long as the identity of the person signing has been verified.
It is of note, however, that the reoccurring exception to the legality of e-signatures in Texas arises from the legal area of trusts and wills. Both the UETA and E-Sign name wills, codicils, or testamentary trusts as exceptions to the enforcement of e-signatures. Thus, it is suggested that parties consult the individual Texas county to determine if e-signatures are accepted when completed or filing documents pertaining or in relation to wills, codicils, or other testamentary actions.
What is the e-signature law enforceable in your jurisdiction?
In the United States, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (“E-Sign”) governs all electronic transactions. More specifically, in Texas, the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (“UETA”) governs commercial transactions and the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (“URPERA”) governs the recording of real property electronically in Texas. The Texas Legislature also permits and facilitates notarial electronic signing. Finally, the Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 21 and Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 9 allow e-signatures in court-related documents and filings.