As a busy business owner subsumed in the daily running of your company, you may not believe you have enough time to create a new contract for every vendor and contractor deal you make. In your rush to save time, you might go with a contract template. Seems simple enough: fill in all the relevant fields and sign at the bottom. Done. What you don’t realize, is that template could bring a host of unanticipated problems to your company, which require the services of an attorney to escape from.
Vague Language in the Contract Template
They call them “templates” for a reason. To catch all possible avenues a contract might take, a pre-made document could contain unclear language in its pages. Legally speaking, the court places the burden of clarity on the drafter of the document, in this case whomever presents the agreement. If there’s a disagreement about the contract language down the road, and your business proposed using the contract, the court will likely rule in the other side’s favor, which could cost your company untold dollars in damages.
Contract is not a Legally Binding Document
Every state has subtle variations in what constitutes a legally binding document — a contract you can enforce in a court of law. The template you downloaded from the Internet may contain clauses that are illegal in your state. For example, a stipulation that provides for wage garnishment to settle delinquency and a state like Pennsylvania that does not allow it. Alternatively, the entire document could contain language relevant to the laws in another country. Just because it’s written in English, does not mean the words pertain to the laws of the United States.
Unfair or Unenforceable Terms in the Agreement
For a contract to be legal, it must also contain goals that each party signing the document can reasonably meet. A template might contain unreasonable dates for your particular assignment or project. Left unnoticed, a contractor or vendor gains a legitimate defense in court should you try to hold them accountable for missed deadlines or underwhelming deliverables.
How Your Business Can Create Legally Sound Agreements
You don’t always need an attorney to draft a contract, but you should hire one to examine its language to make certain the document will perform as you intend when it’s put to the test. The last thing you want is to tie your business and livelihood to a document that contains provisions that may harm overall revenue and long-term success while landing you in the middle of a protracted legal battle that will end up costing you more money. Do the smart thing and avoid templates when it comes to contracts. Your accountant will be very happy that you did.
If you’re in the midst of contract negotiations or a dispute, having a trusted commercial litigation attorney backing your efforts can mean all the difference between success and failure. Our law firm has helped thousands of business owners across Pennsylvania reach their goals using our cost-effective strategies to find the quickest path to success. Call us today for an immediate review of your case.