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Should you depend on electronic contracts, only?  
January 22, 2021
Should you depend on electronic contracts, only?
            Quick comment on electronic only contracts; tossing your paper contracts once scanned.
            To put it simply, you’re playing with fire.  What happens if for whatever reason your electronic copies are deleted, not only does your company suddenly have no value, you also have unlimited liability.
            Computer glitches occur, contract signing e-signature companies go out of business. Don’t stake your future on others when not necessary.
            E-contracts are great, but I strongly advise everyone to retain backup copies on paper. You can’t beat a filing cabinet. You need to be able to put your hands on your contracts. What you’re doing in essence is creating a back-up scenario if the building burns you have your E-contracts; if the contract company goes out of business you have your paper; it’s a redundancy that I believe is necessary in every company. The entire future of your company may depend on it one day. Maybe I’m wrong maybe that day never comes but what if? 
            Are you willing to bet your entire financial future on it?
            The unstated underlying premise is, your contracts are the most important asset in your business.  I agree with that, and if you don't, think about what you'll be looking for if you're sued [for way more than your insurance and the value of your company] or you are selling your business and the buyer is asking for your contracts.
            Here is one analogy you should remember.  Doing business without contracts [proper contracts with RMR] is like doing business on cash basis and taking your excess cash each week and saving it in a fireplace and lighting it up at the end of each month.  At the end of a long career you end up with the same thing, nothing.
            There is difference between storing contracts electronically and executing contracts electronically.  Some electronic contracts start with paper contracts and some are original electronic.  So you are either creating an electronic contract from a paper contract [scanning a paper contract that is executed] or your subscriber is executing an electronic contract that may or may not be converted to paper.  It would be prudent to keep both paper and electronic.  If would be prudent to keep back-ups to both paper and electronic contracts.  The question is, when are back-up plans over the top in caution and unnecessary.  You may be asking that question in advance of some catastrophe or after, and the answer will be different.
            I endorse paper contracts.  Might be that I'm just old fashion, or getting ready to start selling paper, but it's tangible.  Electronic is necessary in this day and age, so both seem the perfect fit.  For those of you who don't want to make the room to store the paper contracts, my hats off to you, you must have a lot of contracts to fill cabinet after cabinet.  
            When scanning paper contracts be sure to scan the entire document, everything that was delivered to the subscriber at time of contract execution.  When making a paper copy of electronically created contract do the same thing, retain every document.  As technology changes make sure you can reproduce a copy.  Paper is not likely to go out of style and be unavailable.  Convert those floppy discs before it's too late.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301