” A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.”  — Sam Goldwyn

Often clients tell us that they have reached a deal, shaken hands, and are ready to do business with a business associate.  While this may have been acceptable back when our grandfathers were in business, society has grown too large and complex to do business on a handshake alone.

A written contract serves many purposes, some obvious and some that most people never consider when entering into a business deal.  The top five purposes of a written contract are as follows:

1.  A written contract impresses on the parties the significance of the commitments to which they are about to agree, and the contract process helps define what is at stake.

2.  A written contract is the clearest record of what was agreed to between the parties.  Over time memories fade as to what was agreed.  A writing objectively states the terms of the deal.  This avoids “he-said vs. she-said” confrontations down the road.

3.  In some instances, a written agreement is absolutely necessary.  A law known as the Statute of Frauds provides that certain contracts (including the conveyance of real estate and agreements which cannot be performed within one year from the making) are not enforceable unless in writing.

4.  A written contract causes the parties to address and agree on issues which would otherwise be overlooked.  For example, without inclusion of an appropriate contractual provision, a prevailing party is unable to collect attorneys fees in the event a dispute results in litigation.

5.  A written contract forces the parties to contemplate the deal longer than it takes to just say yes.  This allows understandings to be flushed out and discussed among the parties and their attorneys, avoiding interpretations of a deal which may differ significantly.

Shaking HandsSchwartz Ettenger, PLLC can assist you in drafting an appropriate agreement to meet your needs.   Please contact us at 631-777-2401 or by email at LAS@selawny.com if you need assistance or have any questions relating to a contract you may need prepared or reviewed.

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