5 Keys to Writing a Good Contract
I am not an attorney. But why should that stop me from giving you legal advice? Well, there probably is a law prohibiting me from doing so but I'm not an attorney so I'm unaware of any. While I'm at it I also included some medical advice at the end just to keep things interesting.
1. Before you get attorneys involved, come to an agreement with the other party. Simply write down, in plain English, what you're trying to accomplish. Then turn it over to the attorney to draft the document, identify risks, advise and wrap in legalese.
2. Partner with people, not paper. A contract only becomes relevant when one party gets pissed off. Otherwise, most contracts are never reviewed after signing. If everyone's happy, contracts rarely come into play. Don't enter a legal contract with people you don't trust.
3. The shorter the better. Attorneys have an innate propensity to understand long contracts. Mere mortals, like us, do not. We're the ones that have to abide by them, so the more concise, the easier it will be for us to comprehend the terms.
4. Most likely, the agreement you're trying to put together has been done before. And there are probably cases where things didn't turn out so well for one party. Since contracts come into play when things go wrong, have your attorney list the biggest risks you face. Consider those risks relative to your situation before signing.
5. Stop googling for contract templates and tweaking them to save a few bucks. You're probably doing more harm then good. This goes for self-diagnosis of your ailment on WebMD. Just because you watched a video, read some crackpot comments, and color-coded a diagram doesn't make you an expert on diagnosing cancer. See a doctor.