Sign Documents In GMail

HSign2There are many document signing tools and processes out there. They have existed for 5 years or more. But they have mostly been for technical users. A few months ago I installed HelloSign a GMail integrated document signing solution. I experimented with it before but until today I never used it on a real document. I’m writing now to say I used it to work with a Vendor that needed a working agreement signed and today I am in the middle of a lot of arranging and paper-work. You know those days that small business owners have where you are arranging, calling and pulling together information.

Creating And Signing A Document Electronically

Ealier today I filled out a W9 that a client was asking for, no our EIN was not sufficient, so I pulled out my trusty standby PDFill (another wonderful tool but more about that later.) I used it to fill out the fields and save it to Google Drive then shared it with our sales consultant so he could pass it along both now and in the future. This is a bit of a laborious process akin to writing in a word-processor and formatting nicely. It takes about 5-10 mins to get it right and save everything appropriately.

hsignWhen I was pestered for the signed agreement that was stopping work I started digging. First I had to find the original PDF they sent a few months ago and it took me a while. Turns out I never pulled it out of my email so after a few mins of GMail searches in 2 accounts I finally found it. I was about to download it and start the PDFill process when I saw the HelloSign link prompting me to ‘Sign the Document’. I clicked the link and up came the UI asking for my signature. I had not saved one-off and it gave me three or four options. One was ‘Upload’ and since I keep a digitized version on Dropbox I went that route. Up it went, I saved it and the doc showed in a nice window with 4 labels at the top: Signature, Date, Text, {something else, forgot already :/}

I dragged each to the 3 fields, in one I typed my title and then I hit the button that saved and replied. It took me about 3 mins to do the 2 documents. It would have been 2 mins if I had a signature in place (which I do now). I was very pleased because I did not have to download the pdf  then sign and save and then upload to their secure repository (it’s slow and ugly.)

Should You Use It?

Is this earth-shattering? no. Is it convenient? yes. Do you want it? yes.

storesOnce you use it the first time you are fully trained and setup and any document that comes again you can confidently use this. A very nice feature is it uses Google authorization so your GMail login will give you secure access to your signature and information. They have an iOS and an Android App for phones but this is not as easy to use and it will take some training to master it. I will not suggest you use this the first time on your phone if you are out in the field and have a critical document to sign and only have your phone with you.

I’m Not A Lawyer

A few words here about the legal aspects of signing electronically. In my discussion with a lawyer there is mostly not a single stated physical standard on what constitutes a proper legal signature. Aside from the fact that laws vary by state the general point is this. If you can trace and show that a person agreed to something in writing the signature is not really the only things that binds them. For instance, if you can show that an email you received from a person was actually their email and that person actually sent it then there is a good chance it is a binding agreement. These electronic signatures are serving to solidify and say that the person who sent you an email and document that included this signature was indeed an agreement they entered into willingly.
notlawAll of this comes with disclaimers that I am not a lawyer and I do not guarantee anything in court. So if you are nervous about it then talk to your lawyer. From my perspective I have seen agreements established as binding because something verbalized it. That is a lot less concrete than a signature like this.







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