Some Kansas residents may be surprised to learn that a contract does not always require signatures to be legally binding. Courts must be convinced that the parties to a contact intended to enter into an agreement and understood the nature of that agreement for a contract to be considered valid. While a signature will generally satisfy these requirements, a court may sometimes infer agreement in other ways. If the parties concerned have a prior working relationship, a simple email acceptance could be construed as assent without a signature.
Legal disputes sometimes occur over the validity of the signatures on a contract. While a signature may generally be accepted as a handwritten stylized rendering of a name, other marks are just as valid as long as they are the way that the individual concerned is usually identified on documents. Before widespread literacy, many people used a drawing or an X to make their mark, and these methods of identification would still be valid today.
Important documents are usually signed in ink, but a signature written in pencil or crayon would be no less legitimate. However, practical concerns make ink a wise choice for contracts, as signatures made in pencil could be erased or smudged. Signatures may also be made by mechanical or electronic means, and an agent could be authorized to sign a contract on behalf of another.
Contracts are a vital part of doing business, but contract disputes can be time consuming and costly. An attorney with business law experience could review contracts before they are signed to identify clauses that could give rise to future disputes.