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What does signature date mean?
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In this article, I will break down the notion of Signed Date so you know all there is to know about it!
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Let’s discuss a contract’s date and signature to see why it’s so important!
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What Is A Signed Date
A signed date, also referred to as contract signing date or contract signature date, generally refers to the date that a contract was actually signed by a party.
For example, if you sign a contract to purchase an automobile on today’s date, then the “signed date” will be as of today’s date.
In many cases, the signed date will correspond to the effective date of the contract.
While the signed date refers to the day that the contract was signed, the effective date refers to the date that the legal obligations contained in the contract become enforceable.
Quite often, all contracts will start with the identification of the parties (also called the party appearance), then have the body (outlining the content of the parties’ agreement), and then a signature block.
Let’s break down the phrase “signed date” into its components to better understand the notion.
According to Vocabulary.com, signed is defined as:
(On a contract or will or other document) having a signature written at the end
In other words, when a person affixes a signature on a document, we say that the document, letter, or contract is “signed”.
Moving on, according to the Dictionary.com, date is defined as:
A particular month, day, and year at which some event happened or will happen
In our context, a signed “date” refers to the date that the signature was affixed on a contract or document.
The signature block is generally found at the end of the contract and it contains:
- A field for the name of the signing parties
- A signature date field
- A signature line
- A signature location field
In other words, when you sign a contract, you’ll need to put the signing party’s name (individual name or company name), specify the place and date of signature, and actually sign.
The signature date refers to the date a contract was signed.
Typically, when you sign a contract, you are required to put your name, place of signature, and the date you signed the document.
The “signature date” is important as it is evidence of what day a party has signed.
Since a contract is formed between at least two or more signing parties, it’s possible that both signing parties sign on the same date or on different dates.
In commercial transactions, the signing parties will stipulate in the contract that the agreement will become effective either on the date when all parties have signed or at another date mutually agreed by the parties.
In other words, the contract can have one party sign today and another party sign tomorrow.
When the contract is signed by the last signatory, the agreement is said to be “concluded” or the deal “closed”.
Types of Contract Dates
Although a contract date appears to be simple at first, if you think about it, it can get confusing as there are different types of contract dates.
You have a contract start and end date, signature date, effective date, and defined date!!
Let’s look at each to ensure to better clarify each of these contract dates.
A contract date is typically the date that appears written on the cover page of the contract, on the first page of the contract, or sometimes printed on the signature page.
For example, a contract date may appear as:
The Parties have entered into the present Agreement on this [DATE]
When the contract date corresponds to the signature date, it may be less confusing.
However, when the contract date is not the same as the signature date or contract start date, then it may lead to interpretation issues.
In the end, in the event of interpretation problems, the date the contract will be legally in force is the date the parties intended for the contract to become legally binding.
A contract signature date is the date that a party actually signs the contract.
The signature date will generally appear in the signature block, such as:
Name: [Person or Company name]
Date: [Date signed]
Signature: [Actual signature]
Unless the contract expresses otherwise, a contract will become legally binding the moment the last signing party signs the contract.
On the other hand, the parties may “define” the date they intend the contract to become legally binding even though it may be signed as of a particular date.
This is referred to as the “defined date”, “effective date”, “start date” or even “commencement date”.
For example, you can enter into a contract today but you may agree that the parties’ contractual obligations will commence only one month from now or at some future point in time.
Signature Date On Contract Validity
Is a signature valid without a date on a contract?
The short answer is yes.
A contract, by definition, is a legally enforceable agreement entered into between two parties no matter if the contract was formed orally or signed in a written format.
For a contract to be legally binding, you need to have five elements, namely:
- There needs to be an offer (offer)
- The offer must be accepted (Acceptance)
- The parties must have a consideration (Consideration)
- The parties must have legal capacity (Legal capacity)
- And the object of the contract must be legal (Legality)
As you can see, most contracts can be formed and legally binding without having to sign or date anything.
Now, if you choose to put your contract in writing, that’s a wise choice.
A written contract is beneficial as it allows the parties to clearly stipulate the terms on which they entered into a legally binding contract and can use the contract as evidence in court to support their position.
Generally speaking, if you sign a contract and do not put a signature date (or the parties did not date the agreement), the contract can remain legally enforceable.
Since the contract date is missing, to legally prove on what day the contract was signed, you may use circumstantial evidence to prove the actual signing date.
Signature Date vs Contract Effective Date
What is the difference between a signature date and a contract effective date?
The contract signature date is the date that a contracting party indicates as the date it has signed a contract.
For example, if you sign a contract today, then today’s date will be the “signature date”.
When the signing parties do not express the intention for the contract to be signed on this date but take legal effect in the future, then by default the contract will become legally binding when the last signing party signs the contract.
However, if the signing parties had the intention to fully sign the contract today but have the contract start in the future, the mutually agreed “future start date” will be the “contract effective date” or “start date”.
Contract Signature And Date Takeaways
So there you have it folks!
Is the signed date the date where a mutual agreement was reached?
What’s the difference between a signed date and a contract effective date?
A contract can be legally formed either through a verbal agreement or by the exchange of a written and signed contract.
Most businesses will transact with one another by entering into a written contract to ensure they clearly outline the terms of their agreement and can have a legally binding document to enforce its terms before the courts.
Although a contract does not need to be dated to be valid, it’s a good idea to ensure that you properly date the contract so it is clear on what day the document was signed.
By default, the signed date will represent the date the mutual agreement was reached.
The contracting parties can also define a date where the contract starts producing its legal effects known as the effective date or defined date.
The contract signature date is an important element of a well-drafted and complete document.
I hope this article has helped you better understand the notion of contract dating and the implication of the date of signature.
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Date of Signature And Dating Agreements Overview
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