Contract questions are diverse and can be confusing. This is why when lawyers read through a contract for their clients, they start by asking what the client hopes to do. Knowing what the deal is, how it helps the client, and what concerns the client may have helps lawyers determine if a contract is covering all bases or missing something vital.

Common Contract Questions

Q: If I breach a contract, will I be liable?

A: If the contract is void, the breach of contract may be excused based on several grounds, such as impracticability or impossibility.

Q: What happens if the agreement is not a valid contract?

A: Before a contract can be formed, there must be an offer, and acceptance of the offer, intent by both parties, and consideration, which is the exchange of valued goods and services. If any of these elements are missing, there is no contract. So, nothing is enforceable.

Q: Does it make a difference if the contract is not in writing?

A: There may be situations where the contract does not reflect the true intentions are/were of the parties involved. In this situation, a party may show that other agreements were made outside of the contract, which changes the intentions of the original contract. Using the argument that the current agreement is different from the initially agreed to, the original contract is not enforceable. This defense is used frequently especially in contracts that do not contain a merger clause.

Q: If one party is a minor, can the contract be voided?

A: In most states, minors are considered people under 18 years old. These individuals cannot enter into a binding contract. If there is a problem going forward with a minor signing paperwork and they want to get out of their part of the agreement, it is usually possible. To avoid this issue, have the parents of the minor sign the contract to avoid future issues that could lead to an agreement that can be voided.

If you plan to draft the initial contract yourself, consider using a pre-designed contract template, which reduces the time involved to create it as well as maintaining the quality, thoroughness, and compliance of the contract.

Ensuring Contract Information Is Accurate

The following is just a sample of the types of things to make sure are covered or correct in the contract before signing. A good way to do this is by having a checklist made ahead of time so you can check off each item as you and your contract lawyer go through the agreement.

  • Were the proper legal names of the parties used?
  • Does the contract clearly state what you will be receiving?
  • Is the description of the product, goods, or services clear and specific?
  • Are the terms of payment clearly specified?
  • All are promises mentioned in detail in the contract?
  • Is there a merger clause of integration clause to avoid issues with the Parol Evidence Rule?
  • Are potential things that could go wrong in the future addressed?
  • Does the contract explicitly explain how disputes will be resolved, such as arbitration versus going to court?
  • Within the dispute section, are all areas addressed? For example, who will pay attorney fees, and is there a location convenient to all parties where resolutions of a dispute will take place?
  • What happens if the other party becomes incapacitated or dies?
  • Are there processes in place in the event your business partner leaves the business unannounced, fails to perform their role in the contract, or steals from the business?
  • Are all bases covered to ensure sensitive company information is not at risk of being exposed?
  • Are all dates and dollar amounts correct?
  • Does the contract refer to "other documents" that you do not or have not had in your possession?
  • Does the contract contain verbiage you do not understand?
  • Are there instructions or processes outlined for the termination of the contract that include the date when the contract should terminate, what to do if the other party wants out of the contract, or if you are able to get out of the contract should you choose to do so?

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