Blank contracts are essential guides that determine how you should handle business matters. You should not do business in the form of a simple hand-shake; everything should be in writing. You should have a written agreement in place because people tend to forget the terms of an agreement or change their mind and try to retract from a deal. Further, matters will go smoother for all parties in a contract that details terms and conditions on a business transaction.

Contracts outline expectations for both parties, including:

  • Timeframes
  • Payment details
  • Materials
  • Settling disagreements

This is to ensure both parties agree to the terms and understand what’s expected of them.

Contract Guidelines

First, read over all information before agreeing to any contract. In addition, check to see if details and names are correct, including correct spelling. Look for unclear language that could cause confusion. Also, read the fine print and ensure that you are aware of any terminology or language you may be unfamiliar with.

When you sign the contract, keep in mind that it is a legally-binding agreement that you’re stuck with, or you could face legal ramifications for breaching the contract. For instance, some contracts contain what’s called an indemnity clause, which could shift greater risk or costs to you. Check to see if any clauses would apply to you, and if you would be liable according to the terms of the contract.

  • Note: Check local regulations or get local advice from an attorney about regulations that could apply to your business transaction

Detailed Agreement

When it comes to a blank contract, do not leave out specific details or small bits of information. Detail in the contract all information that pertains to the agreement. Define all important terms, including precise services or products you would be providing.

For instance, terms such as “due in 30 days” could mean business or calendar days. One party could believe business days, while the other party could think the full calendar days are factored in as well. This could be a major problem if two parties argue over a late fee.

Signing the Contract

Your signature binds you to the agreement. For this reason, look for spaces that you need to sign or initial, and be sure to cross away blank spaces to prevent those spaces from being filled in by another party. This prevents binding you to something you did not approve. Always keep copies of agreements, and have two originals that you can both sign if possible.

At minimum, you should ask for photocopies of agreement, and ensure that the contract is accurate. You should also keep the contract in a safe place for the future.

Keep the document for as long as possible in case you come across a dispute or conflict. In addition, you may want to have an attorney look over the agreement before you sign anything, especially if you find any duties or rights in the contract unclear.

After signing the contract, the other party can take legal action if you violate the terms of the agreement. You may want contact an attorney before you sign it, especially if the rights and responsibilities of the parties to the agreement are not clear to you.

Components of a Contract

A legally-binding contract is ironclad and could bring all parties to court if anyone violates an agreement. To make a contract valid, it must meet the following conditions:

  • Offer acceptance
  • Exchange between parties regarding something valuable
  • Agreement to terms and conditions

A major component is that something be offered (“the offer”). Further, something needs to be exchanged, preferably money. Without money, the agreement is merely a gift or a promise instead of a valid contract. Further, both sides need to accept the terms outlined in the contract (“acceptance”) while understating that they have entered into a mutual agreement (“mutuality”).

Contract Exceptions

California law mandates that anyone can enter into a contract, with a few exceptions:

  • Someone who is mentally ill or of unstable mind
  • Prisoners

Further, minors can enter into a contract in the same way as adults, but you should be aware that courts or other parties do not always enforce a contract against an underage person. Further, parties can outright refuse to enter to agreements with minors.

If you need to learn more about blank contracts, submit your legal inquiry to our UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounel’s quality lawyers will help you draft a quality contract that protects you and other parties to mitigate the risk of potential disputes. Moreover, our lawyers will be by your side if any breach of contract occurs, or if another party seeks legal action against you.