Tens of thousands of contracts are entered into each day. Whether you are buying a home or a new car, there will be a written contract executed by the buyer and seller. The contract binds both parties and passes ownership from the seller to the buyer. In essence, every contract will include certain necessary elements found in all contracts. Anyone attempting to prepare a binding contract should know the basics of contract law to assure they have prepared a legally binding agreement.
Understand what is necessary to have a legally binding contract. A contract is an instrument that reflects an agreement to mutually bind two or more parties. The most important thing is that within your contract it is obvious that there has been a "meeting of the minds,", with both parties agreeing to be bound under the law. Begin your contract to the effect that you are "offering" a specific product or service. Follow this with wording that the other party "accepts", and agrees to purchase the offer.
Spell out in detail the terms of your agreement. Following the acceptance clause, your contract should clearly identify all parties to the contract. There should be no doubt about the product being sold or the act that is to be performed. Include any legal descriptions, serial numbers or model numbers that are relevant to the transaction. A performance contract should specify the work to be performed, including when, where and how.
Include all important times relevant to your contract. Your contract should have an execution date, which is the date both parties achieve mutual agreement. A contract should include the agreed delivery date of a product or service. If your contract is a performance contract, then include a date when there is a presumption that the non-performing party has not honored their agreement to perform a certain act. Many performance contracts spell out the penalties and damages for late performance.
Provide a remedies clause with your contract. Your written contract should have a paragraph specifying what remedies are available to the non-breaching party in the event of a breach. The first part of your remedies clause will designate a certain state that will have jurisdiction over the the contract. This will mean that any laws at issue, including any statutes of limitation, will be governed by the laws of the designated state. Your remedies clause should include language to the effect that the breaching party will be responsible for any court cost and reasonable legal fees associated with any prospective litigation.
- In drafting a contract, the order in which the drafter includes the necessary elements is not critical. All contracts, however, to be legally binding should include the elements addressed.
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