Are the PDFs acceptable as originals if they have signatures on them?

Our office is becoming overfilled with saved paper documents, so one of the suggested solutions was to scan documents into PDF and shred the paper originals. One of our forms is one we whipped up saying that the customer understands our policies, signed at the bottom. We have one for every customer, but the suggestion is to just print out the PDF if we ever need it in the future instead of keeping each customer’s form. We don’t want to be caught with our pants down if later on legal (or whoever) decides our scanned PDFs aren’t good enough.

Asked on September 17, 2014 under Business Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, PDFs can be as valid as a signed original, but ideally (to avoid any confusion or claims that by not having the original, you are trying to put one over on the other party) the contract, etc. should have as one of its terms and conditions a statement that the photocopies, facsimile transmissions, or scans of the original are all as valid as the signed original and that it is understood by all parties that if a signed original is not available in the future, it will not affect validity.


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