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Signed Date (What It Is And How It Works: All You Need To Know)

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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.

Signature Block

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.

Signature Date

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.

Contract Date

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.

Signature Date

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]

Defined Date

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.

My Investing, Business, and Law Blog

By the way, on this blog, I focus on topics related to starting a business, business contracts, and investing, making money geared to beginners, entrepreneurs, business owners, or anyone eager to learn. 

Just so you know who I am and where I come from, a little about me…

I have a university degree in finance and law. 

I have worked in an international financial institution dealing with the stock market, stock, bonds, corporate financing, and securities.

I practiced law in private practice where I advised and consulted entrepreneurs and business owners on many aspects of their business, such as how to start new business ventures, how to scale their business, how to navigate commercial contracts, and how to set themselves up for success. 

I also acted as an in-house counsel and eventually as the General Counsel in a rapidly growing technology company going through hypergrowth, dealing with international Fortune 500 clients, and operating internationally. 

Let me tell you, in my career, I’ve learned a lot about business, investing, investment decisions, business decisions, and law. 

I started this blog out of my passion to share my knowledge with you in the areas of finance, investing, business, and law, topics that I truly love and have spent decades perfecting.

You may find useful nuggets of wisdom to help you in your entrepreneurship journey and as an investor.

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Now, let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Date of Signature And Dating Agreements Overview

  • The “signed date” refers to the “date” the contract was “signed”
  • When all parties to a contract sign the agreement, the contract is said to come into force and produce legal effects
  • In business and commercial contracts, the parties can agree to sign the contract but have the effective date of contract to be a future date
  • It’s not mandatory to have a signature date for a contract to be legally enforceable 
  • The best practice is to ensure that a contract is drafted clearly, reflects the terms and conditions that you had in mind, and be dated and signed 
Agreement date
Authorized signatory 
Booking date 
Closing date
Closing date 
Commencement date 
Commissioning date
Contract signatory 
Date hereof 
Date stamp 
Dated this day of
Day or Day’s
Distribution agreement 
Effective date
End date 
Execution date
Formation date
Inception date 
Its signature 
Opening date
Reporting date
Signature stamp  
Third party rights
Agency agreement 
Contract enforceability 
Contract initial 
Contract lawyer 
Contract legality
Contract termination 
Contractual capacity 
Contractual dispute 
Contract formation 
Digital signature 
Electronic signature 
Elements of a contract 
Email signature 
Force majeure 
Invitation to treat 
Legal liability 
Material breach 
Negotiable instrument 
Offer and acceptance 
Parole evidence rule 
Power of attorney 
Privity of contract 
Purchase agreement
Reseller agreements 
Sales agreement 
Wet signature
Editorial Staff
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer by trade and an entrepreneur by spirit. I specialize in law, business, marketing, and technology (and love it!). I'm an expert SEO and content marketer where I deeply enjoy writing content in highly competitive fields. On this blog, I share my experiences, knowledge, and provide you with golden nuggets of useful information. Enjoy!

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