How to Make a Legal Contract Without a Lawyer
Knowing how to make a legal contract without a lawyer is useful in cases where you want to save some legal fees.3 min read
2. Contents of a Contract
3. Parties to the Agreement
6. Additional Terms
10. Differences Between Implied and Express Contracts
Updated November 12, 2020:
Knowing how to make a legal contract without a lawyer is useful in cases where you want to save some legal fees. The first thing to do is to collate samples from other persons in your professional trade association or industry or you could look up contract form books in the local library.
A lot of business owners require written contracts or agreements when dealing with clients, vendors, and other entities they come in contact with during business operations. If you intend to use an attorney, it's best to communicate your expectations upfront and find out the cost of the services.
Drafting a Legal Contract Without an Attorney
However, you may decide to draft out the contract yourself. If your business operations focus on repairing or selling mobile homes and used vehicles; door-to-door sales; renting apartments or homes; cremation, burial, or funeral services, there may be special rules in your state governing the drafting of contracts.
Contents of a Contract
Whether you decide to seek professional help or take a DIY approach when drafting your contract, there are a few things you should be familiar with. The following items must be included in the contract.
Parties to the Agreement
This is your business name and the name(s) of the other party or parties to the contract. This could be a vendor or client.
This refers to what each party gains from the agreement.
The terms of the contract dictate what each party is expected to do. This constitutes the main body of the contract and should be explicitly defined. It should include things like the type of work to be performed, the price to be paid for such work, the length of the contract, as well as when and how the payment will be made.
These usually include the conditions for terminating the contract and whether each party can assign or transfer the contract to another entity. Also, the additional terms can speak to the mediation or arbitration of disputes if they arise; the payment of legal fees in the event of a breach of contract; state laws that apply when issues arise, or the address where legal notices can be sent.
You must ensure that both parties sign the contract. The person that signs the contract must have the authority to sign.
Ensure that all contracting parties receive copies of the final signed agreement.
The date when the contract is signed.
However, it's best to have an experienced attorney draft your business or legal contracts. It helps protect your interests and rights and saves time and money in the event of a contract dispute.
Not all contracts are well-written.
It may be difficult or even impossible to enforce such contracts. Since such a contract doesn't clearly outline the terms of the agreement, the other contracting parties may not follow through with the provisions within the contract. Such contracts are poorly written and use ambiguous language.
In some cases, contracts are drafted to give undue advantage to one contracting party over the other. They fail to provide adequate protection to all contracting parties.
Properly outlining the terms of a negotiated agreement within the contract is just as important as having a well-written contract.
Experienced attorneys have the skill and expertise to draft contracts that protect their clients' interests. They also know how to handle a breach of contract as well as how to modify a contract that contains harmful clauses. With lots of experience in drafting contracts for various industries and use cases, attorneys know how to resolve contract disputes, avoid traps and loopholes and represent their clients' interests at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
The components of a well-written contract include:
- Consideration and
Differences Between Implied and Express Contracts
An implied contract is one where an offer and acceptance are made through actions/performance. On the other hand, express contracts contain clearly written statements detailing the offer and acceptance.
A valid contract is a contract whose terms are readily enforceable by a law court. The court can order defaulting parties to pay damages for breach of contract.
If you need help with how to make a legal contract without a lawyer, you can post your legal need on the UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of attorneys/lawyers on its site. Attorneys on UpCounsel come from prestigious law schools like Yale Law and Harvard Law and usually have 14 years of legal experience, including work on behalf of or with companies like Airbnb, Menlo Ventures, and Google.