Does an email constitute a legal document?

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Does an email constitute a legal document?

I have an email from employer dated and signed (typed signature not an “actual” signature).

Asked on July 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is possible to legally bind yourself to a contract through e-mail. Basically, a contract is formed when an offer is made and then accepted. If an e-mail clearly states an offer with all of the material terms and the other side responds by e-mail accepting the terms, then a valid contract has been created. This is so even if no signatures have been exchanged. If all a party intends is to negotiate the terms leading to a formal written and signed contract accepted by both parties, that should be stated in the e-mail.

The fact is that under the law (with certain exceptions, none of which appear applicable here), 2 parties can negotiate, sign and exchange copies of a contract without signing a physical document. Legally, such an agreement can be just as valid as a written agreement using actual signatures.

However, to be certain of your rights regarding this e-mai, you should consult directly with a local attorney. They can best advise you after reviewing it.

 


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