How to Draft Recitals for a Contract

By Shaun Fowler
The preamble to the Declaration of Independence is an example of contract recitals.

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One element of a properly formed contract is the recital. Recitals are statements of fact as they pertain to an agreement. They lay out the context and purpose of the agreement, providing courts with an indication of each party’s intent should disputes arise and the agreement be challenged. Well-crafted recitals are an essential part of any contract.

Select the recitals that are appropriate for the contract that you are drawing up. There are a number of recitals used to establish the facts of a contract. A recital can establish the parties of the contract or the background of the events that lead to the contract, as well as referencing other agreements being made concurrently.

Outline the contract and determine the best location for the recitals. An outline will make sure that the final form makes sense and is clear. Recitals are usually toward the beginning of the contract.

Write out the language for your recitals. "Whereas" is a common way to begin each recital. Recitals usually consist of four or five paragraphs. The number of recitals will reflect the complexity of the agreement. Simple contracts should need only a few recitals, while more complex agreements can require over a dozen.

Review your language and revise. A good contract uses language that is precise and clear. Make sure that terms are consistently used throughout your recitals and remove any jargon. Do not sacrifice clarity by using overblown, nebulous language. Also, limit the content of the recitals to each party's intentions and desires, and the facts of the agreement.

About the Author

Shaun Fowler is the author of a personal finance blog. He works full-time as a financial analyst while completing a Master of Business Administration in accounting.

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