Agreements, or written contracts, can take a variety of different forms and can include a wide array of terms and conditions. Still, the essential elements of all enforceable agreements, or contracts, are the same no matter what the subject matter. An enforceable contract must have an offer, an acceptance, consideration and legality.
Negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement. You and the person you are forming an agreement with must decide what the agreement is, and only then can you put it into writing.
Locate a sample agreement to work from, if possible. It is always best to avoid "reinventing the wheel," so if you can locate a past agreement that concerns the same subject matter of your current agreement, it can save you a lot of time and hassle. Simply use the past agreement as a guideline in creating your new one.
Name the agreement. There are no legal requirements for what to call your agreement, but for practical reasons, it makes sense to title the agreement something that indicates what it is about and who the parties are.
Draft the recitals. Recitals, also sometimes called preamble or whereas clauses, briefly introduces the agreement, explaining in broad terms the purpose of the agreement and the history of the negotiations.
Draft the agreement section. The agreement section should go in after the recitals, or preamble, and should very clearly define all of the terms and conditions of the agreement.
Insert signature blocks for the contracting parties to sign. Each signature should be dated so that the signing party can indicate the date that they signed the agreement. Although a notary acknowledgment is not required, you may want to include one for practical reasons in case the agreement is ever disputed in court.
- Some rights and responsibilities can never be contracted away, according to state and federal law. While there is nothing illegal about including those rights and responsibilities in your agreement, just be aware that those terms and conditions may not be enforceable.
- Feel free to borrow language, terms and conditions from past agreements. This is not plagiarism. It is common to use forms in many transactions, making small changes to meet the circumstances of each individual agreement.
- Contracts: Examples and Explanations; Brian A. Blum; 2007