What Are Contract Attachments?
Contract attachments are added to a contract after it has been drafted and in most cases, attachments don't change the original contract.3 min read
Contract attachments are added to a contract after it has been drafted. In most cases, attachments don't change the original contract. Attachments may be known by different terms depending on your jurisdiction, such as the following:
Supplements to Contracts
An appendix is a collection of supplementary material that's usually found at the end of contracts. An exhibit is also a supplement. The term "exhibits” is used in the United States, while “appendices” are more common in the United Kingdom.
An annex also refers to something that's added, attached, or appended. You might use the term “annex” interchangeably with “exhibit” and “appendix.” In general, the term "annex" is much less common than the other terms. However, you'll see “annexes” more frequently in documents that have an international effect, such as treaties.
An attachment refers to documents or items appended to the main document. Today, however, many people associate “attachments” with e-mail. Attachments are different from addendums because they can be placed within the contract without changing the agreement itself, and they may also be referred to as annexes or appendices.
In contracts, the correct use of language is very important. Typically, a schedule refers to materials that could have a place in the main contract but are moved to the end. They are often placed at the end of a contract because of their length. By placing schedules at the end, the main contract won't be as long and complicated. However, schedules contain important information and are generally considered part of the main contract. Sometimes, both parties must sign the schedules when executing the contract.
An enclosure refers to paperwork that's actually inserted in the same package or envelope. It's appropriate to use this term when a document is contained in packaging or an envelope and physically mailed, not e-mailed.
The term “supplement” usually refers to a completely separate document, not to materials appended to the main document. This separate document adds to, or amends, the original agreement. For instance, a “Supplement to a Lease Agreement” typically would consist of a new document that refers to the original agreement, instead of being an addendum to that agreement.
How to Use Different Terms in a Contract
Considering the technical definitions and aspects of these specific terms may help you use them correctly when drafting a contract. Keep the following in mind:
- A schedule isn't integral to a contract because it details the terms referred to in the agreement.
- An appendix is part of the agreement and supplements it. It's a critical attachment that adds validity to the agreement.
- An annexure, or annex, may be considered a report, or a separate document from the contract.
Based on these definitions, the following apply:
- If an attachment is vital to the validity of the contract, it should be called an appendix.
- If the attachment has information that one or more parties can change without needing to change the whole agreement or affecting the validity of the contract, it should be called an annexure.
Schedules, appendices, and annexures are all “attachments.” You should call them “Attachment 1,” not “Annexure 1” or “Appendix 1.” Make it clear in your agreement if any of these attachments are an integral part of the contract or not. You could also call a “schedule” a “list."
Even if an attachment was a separate, self-standing document before the contract was signed doesn't mean it will necessarily have that same status in the future. For instance, its legal significance may be “frozen” when the contract is signed and attachment is initialed. Any changes made to the original document don't usually change the entire agreement, unless that's the intention of the involved parties.
Because contracts are legally binding documents, it's important to fully understand what you're agreeing to before putting your signature on the dotted line. Be sure you know which attachments make changes to your original agreement and which ones don't. You should consult with a legal professional if you have any concerns or questions regarding a contract's attachments. This will eliminate any unpleasant — and potentially costly — surprises down the road.
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