Back to advice

An update on e-sign Bills of Sale 

In a time of remote working and online purchasing, it is no surprise that digital e-sign documents have become increasingly popular.

We are aware that e-sign Bills of Sale have been used to transfer ownership of boats and decided to look into this further to ensure these documents are legally binding.

We have consulted our legal team and it has provided the below summary.

A summary from our legal team:

“A Bill of Sale is a Deed and therefore should be executed as a wet sign document with a witness being present at the time of signing. Where an e-sign Bill of Sale is presented, it is acceptable to create a wet signed Bill of Sale between the parties to replace the e-sign document. This is not considered backdating, providing the original date is used on the wet sign Bill of Sale.”

There is no breach of GDPR and Data Protection in approaching previous parties to sign a new Bill of Sale as above. The MCA will not accept e-sign Bills of Sale which therefore means a finance company cannot create a mortgage over the vessel.”

For the e-sign Bills of Sale we have seen, there is no confirmation of identity of the person e-signing. In addition, it is impossible for a witness to e-sign, verifying the other party’s signature.

Promarine Finance’s position on e-sign Bills of Sale

Promarine Finance will not accept an e-sign Bill of Sale. We will accept a properly executed Bill of Sale between parties showing the correct date of the transaction.

I hope this clarifies our position whilst presenting options for brokers and vendors to resolve e-sign title documents.

Promarine Finance is a leading provider of marine finance. You can learn more about marine finance here, and to find out if you’re eligible, get a quote today.