Business dealings are often highly complex, and unless you take steps to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings, you run the risk of potentially finding yourself embroiled in a contract dispute. Contract disputes, while common, are also typically costly and time-consuming, so it may serve you well to take preventative measures to avoid them to the fullest extent possible.
Just what steps might you take to minimize your chances of a contract dispute?
Step 1: Utilize a notary every time.
Having a notary present anytime you or anyone else involved with your business signs a contract is always advisable. The notary’s presence helps accomplish two things. First, it boosts the chances of the people signing the contract thoroughly reading it and requesting clarification when necessary. Second, it makes it much tougher for those who sign the contract to try to argue that they never did so, which is a common catalyst for contract disputes.
Step 2: Ensure proper parties are signing the contract.
Do not assume the person signing your contract automatically has the authority to do so. Instead, exercise proper due diligence to make sure that this person is who he or she claims to be and that he or she is, in fact, empowered to sign the contract.
Step 3: Consider future variables.
When executing your business contract, you also need to think about what is going to happen down the line. Does the contract become invalid at a certain date, or conversely, does it automatically self-renew? What happens if you or the other party or parties signing the contract passes away or quits? By considering these and similar variables in advance, you should be able to reduce the chances of contract disputes.
While taking these three steps is important, so, too, is always utilizing extremely clear and concise language when drafting your contract. Leaving anything open to interpretation has the potential to come back to bite you if someone questions its intent.