Author: Mario Voge

Handwritten signature

Every day, thousands of contracts are concluded with the help of a handwritten signature. Nevertheless, it is often unclear how a signature should look legally binding. In this guide, you will learn what a signature consists of and what advantages digital signatures have.

What is a handwritten signature?


A handwritten signature is a unique name lettering of a natural person. People use signatures to make a declaration of intent or to confirm something. Particularly in legal transactions, persons use handwritten signatures that require the written to conclude contracts. The term "signature" derives from the Latin language signātūrā and means "the signed."


Use cases of signatures.


Binding declaration of intent

In most cases, signatures are used to declare intent to bind contracts legally.


Testifying for truthful statements

For example, a signature is often used to testify to truthful statements when signing application documents. The signature attests that the information in the documents is accurate.



Requirements for a legally valid signature

Signing with one's last name is obligatory for a legally valid signature. Adding the first name or the academic degree is irrelevant to the legal validity of a signature, but it is optional. The longer the signature, the more forgery-proof it is.

In addition, the signature must be assignable to the signatory. You should be able to compare the signature length with the individual letters of the given name and last name. Also, make sure that the signature always looks similar when signing to avoid any misunderstandings.


Use cases of digital signatures.

It is often easier and time-saving to sign documents digitally. Signing an employment contract for HR is a good example. HR employees often still rely on paper-based contract signing. However, this is not effective and costs much money. Using digital signatures can facilitate the work of the HR team tremendously. Documents no longer have to be printed and sent via post, reducing contract waiting time.


There are also many other application areas for digital signatures, e.g., the financial and banking industry or the health sector. This can provide actual facilitation.


Legal security of digital signatures


The digital signature is a true enabler for more efficiency in various industries. Regarding legal security, digital signature also offers the same legal security as handwritten signatures.

There are three types of digital signatures, which differ in their technical complexity and their legal security. The qualified electronic signature is the most complex of the three signatures and has the same legal value as a handwritten signature. It follows the advanced electronic signature, which is less complicated and has less legal security. The simple electronic signature has the simplest structure and offers no legal protection.


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