Drafting Contracts: dos & don'ts
Collins Legal Business Lawyer Decodes: Drafting Contracts
Drafting Contract Dos
A successful business is built on a strong foundation, which includes a straightforward and comprehensive contract. From initial startup to growth and development, contracts can clarify business arrangements and partnerships, protecting your business interests. If you’re in the midst of drafting your terms, it’s important to know what to do and not to do, to avoid potential errors and future disputes
Drafting Contract DoS
- Use plain language and avoid formal and technical language.
- Include the date at the beginning of the contract and number each paragraph to make it easier for reference.
- Apply logical headings to each clause for easier identification of particular provisions.
- Ensure all agreements and possible contingencies are documented. Leave nothing vague.
- Consider the placement of punctuation marks, which can change the meaning of a sentence
- Discuss questions or concerns with an experiences business law attorney.
- Allow your attorney to review and advise you on the contract.
- Use conjunctions easily, as they can affect a words’ meaning.
- Sign the contract in a colored ink (not black) so that the original copy is distinguishable.
- Have all the parties initial every page and include notarization.
- Retain a copy for your records.
- Consider hiring an attorney.
Drafting Contract Donts
- Use form contracts. Every contract should be unique and suit your circumstances and goals.
- Use long sentences. Break down each section into easily digestible portions and get rid of any meaningless text.
- Use “shall” unless your intention is to create a mandatory duty or an obligation.
- Be repetitive, unless it’s necessary. Refer back to a previous provision by number or heading instead of repeating it verbatim.
- Assume all parties will understand terms in the same manner. If there is doubt, include the definitions.
- Accept oral explanations or agree to modifications without getting them down on paper.
- Act in accordance with the terms of the contract until it is finalized.
THE TAKE AWAY
→ If you or your business is entering into a contractual agreement, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney. A word out of place, a forgotten clause or vague wording can cost you or your business hard-earned money.
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