Prologue and Epilogue by Cheryl T. Miller, Broker of Baja Realty and Investment

E-Sign, DocuSign….Legal in Mexico?
Prologue by Cheryl T. Miller
In our fast paced world, with its electronic advances, many companies and services worldwide are offering to make it easier for you to sign documents and contracts vis a vis an electronic signature.  And even some brokerages and agents here in Mexico are offering the same. Saves the printing, physical signatures and initials on multiple pages and scanning them all to return them.  Sounds great, right? 

Well, hold on.  As I always like to say, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy, this is Mexico!” and things are not the same as “back home”. So, what is the official, legal position on e- signatures and e-contracts here in Mexico?  If you have an electronic signature on an Offer to Purchase is it defendable in court?

Well, the answer is, “Yes” and “No”.   Here is the legal take on it all:

By Daniel Ruiz de la Peña Sandoval, Esq.

A reform to the Commerce Code and an E-Signature Law and regulations were published recently. The aforementioned reform allows all agreements signed by an E-Signature to be valid. Such E-Signature is given by the SAT (Tax Administrative Service) when a Mexican Tax ID is requested.

In order for a foreign individual to request the SAT for the Mexican Tax ID, to request the Tax ID first he needs to apply for a residence card, citizen card, or passport if he acquired the Mexican Nationality and the corporation can request with his legal representative who has the above cards.

The E-Signature is an encrypted document and a confidential password, by which the individual or corporation is allowed to request, through internet, some processes to the SAT and the Ministry of Economy. Also, the E-Signature can be utilized to sign contracts. This is performed by uploading the encrypted documents into the website and finishing the process with the confidential password.

But the E-Signature regulation allows companies to use an internet website where they can sign contracts. Therefore, the parties can sign a contract without their presence, by uploading the encrypted documents into the website and entering the confidential password.

Due to the fact that all real estate acquisition agreements must be done before the Notary Public, there are some Notaries Public that allow these agreements to be signed through E-Signature.

Therefore, the Commerce contract can be duly signed with the E-Signature, without the presence of the parties. However, it is necessary for the person who signs the contract to be registered with the SAT; also, it is highly recommended that he requests the service of a lawyer with experience in contracts signed with E-Signature, so as to avoid any possible legal issues and to assure that the contracts are properly signed.

By Daniel Ruiz de la Peña Sandoval is a corporate and tax lawyer with more than 14 years of experience, daniel@ruizdelapena.com, +52   (664) 6 84 02 87 y +52 1 (664) 3 09 62 09

by Cheryl T. Miller
Well, there you have it. 

“Yes”, it is possible and legal when all of the requirements listed above are present. 

But, for foreigners or Mexican citizens without an official SAT electronic signature, and without this signature registered into the system of the company that is gathering the electronic signatures, “NO” it is not considered legally valid in Mexico.

So, if your realtor or closing agent asks you for the “wet” signature and witnesses, (and an Apostille in some cases) bite the bullet, print those pages, sign or initial those pages and have them witnessed properly.  And send the originals, if requested. If something ends up needing legal resolution, you will be glad you did!

By Cheryl T. Miller, Broker of Baja Realty and Investment, serving Baja California Sur for 14 years, contact her at 011-521-624-122-2690, info@forsaleinbaja.com, www.forsaleinbaja.comArbitrator.