1. Naming your contract
Choose a distinct and descriptive name for your contract. Contract names are visible to the signer, and a good contract name will immediately indicate to the user what they are signing. Additionally, a distinct contract name will enable you to easily find the contract at a later date to either revise and upload a new version.
2. Choosing a template
Select the template that you will be sending out for acceptance, and get it ready for rapid and painless acceptance by taking full advantage of the allowances made within best practice.
Under ESIGN and UETA, an electronic signature is defined as “any electronic sound, symbol or process with the intent to sign the record or perform a legally significant act.” As a result (and expressly stated in UETA commentary), clicking a button or checking a box in order to manifest assent to contract terms qualifies as an electronic signature.
If your template has a signature block, you should consider replacing it with a button or checkbox the signer can click to sign. This produces a workflow that is faster and easier for the signer, as well as user friendly.
3. Tailoring your signer's experience
When you are building out the "signer experience" (aka, what the signer will see when they go to accept your agreement), it is important to strike a balance between enforceability and experience. PactSafe supports a variety of popular presentation styles.
“Force Scroll" is the presentation style with the strongest history of legal enforceability, because it makes the signer view contract in its entirety. This format ensures the signer was presented with the opportunity to review every aspect of the terms they are agreeing to.
While we recommend this presentation style in our guidelines for best practice, it is important to note that legally, it is not absolutely necessary to toggle this feature on for the contract to be considered enforceable.
For Streamline in particular with the way SmartPacts work (embedding the entire contract on the screen the user will visit) is an enforceable solution whether or not force scroll is enabled. Since the signer is taken to a screen with the entire contract embedded on it and afforded ample opportunity to review the contract, that has generally been found sufficient in court.
4. Enabling downloads of completed contracts
You will have the option to enable signers to download a copy of the contract they signed upon completion.
Best practices dictates that you must make a copy of the agreement available to relevant parties (such as the signer), and this function is a simple way to enable access in an automated, self-service flow. We recommend enabling this feature.
5. Expiring your contract
Set an expiration date if you want signers to sign the contract by a certain date. This will prevent them from signing after the desired date.
It is important to note that expiring the contract does not necessarily inactivate the signing link, so the contract may still be accessible though it cannot be signed.
6. Finalizing your contract
Prior to setting your contract live, it is always a good idea to take advantage of PactSafe's "Preview" function, to ensure the contract is rendering in the best-practice compliant way you intended. This will ensure the agreement you send out accurately reflects what you intended.