I have people almost weekly tell me that they cannot go paperless because the State or some other agency requires them to keep paper documents.
I was recently at a CAP trade show where a weatherization director came up to me and said he would love to go paperless, but the State wouldn’t allow it. The same day I had the State weatherization assistance program manager, from the same State, come up to me and say, “I wish all of our CAP’s would go paperless.”
As electronic document management becomes more commonplace, laws have emerged regarding the legality of electronic documents and electronic signatures.
The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, which was adopted in 1999 by the National Conference, stated that electronic documents are to be treated the same as paper documents. The Act states that any law that requires a physical record will be satisfied by an electronic record and that any signature requirement can be met by an electronic signature.
This Act has been adopted by every state except Illinois, New York, and Washington. But, each of these also has laws recognizing electronic documents and electronic signatures.
E-Sign is a federal law that was passed in 2000 that grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use electronic documents and to sign them electronically. You can read this law here: https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/compliance/manual/10/x-3.1.pdf
CAPLaw has a good article on this subject. It can be found here:
So, if you are thinking you are required to keep paper, I urge you to talk to your State program manager about going paperless and I think you will be surprised.
Please note that I am not an attorney. Before getting started, consult with an attorney on the specific statutes governing your industry and geographical area.