How to Write a Hold Harmless Agreement

By Mike Andrew

A "hold harmless agreement" is a contract in which one party to the contract agrees to accept full responsibility for any legal or financial claims stemming from that party's actions and protects another party from such legal or financial claims. The "promisor" is the party who agrees to hold the other party harmless. The "promisee" is the party who is protected by the agreement and held harmless by the promisor.

Insert the title "Hold Harmless Agreement" at the top of the agreement in capital letters. Center the title.

Identify the promisor and promisee just below the title and leave space to enter the date on which both parties sign the agreement. Use the phrase "This Hold Harmless Agreement is entered into by and between (Name of Promisor) and (Name of Promissee) on this _ day of (month), 20."

Create a heading titled "Recitals." In this section, describe why you are entering into the agreement. For example, if the promisor intends to rent a facility from the promisee for one night, explain that the intent of the agreement is for the promisor to hold the promisee harmless from any claims that may arise from the rental of that facility or the promisor's actions.

Draft a separate provision specifically explaining or identifying the actions from which promisor will hold the promisee harmless. Include general and specific actions, all types of lawsuits, financial claims, attorney's fees, any services provided by the promisor and negligent acts by the promisor. Begin this section of the contract with the phrase, "For valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, Promisor and Promissee agree as follows:"

Create a separate paragraph describing how any lawsuit or claim involving the actions described in the agreement will be handled by the parties. Explain that the promisee will choose and hire any necessary legal counsel and that the promisor will pay all attorney's fees or judgments associated with any claim. Include a sentence providing the promisee with the option to settle any claims at any time.

Include a provision addressing potential legal actions between the promisor and promisee to enforce the agreement. Specifically, explain that if either party sues the other to enforce the agreement, the winner shall be entitled to attorney's fees and costs. Be sure to declare which state's laws will govern the dispute; if your agreement deals with property in Florida, include a provision proclaiming that Florida law controls all disputes regarding the agreement.

Place signature blocks for all parties at the bottom of the agreement. For each party's signature block, type the party's name, address and telephone number. If a party to the contract is a business, include the name of the business and business title of the person signing the contract. Place a blank line immediately above each party's information to accommodate that party's signature.

About the Author

Mike Andrew has written business and legal articles for "850 Magazine" since 2008 and covers college football for several websites. Andrew is a freelance writer, attorney and music producer based in Florida. He received his Juris Doctor from Florida State University.

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