Previously in Why Written is Wiser – Part I… we reminisced about the good ol’ days, when breaching a contract brought about a swift and timely death. These days, death generally follows the heart attack brought on by the presentment of your attorney’s bill. Hardly the stuff legends are made of! Just in case you need further convincing why having a good, solid written contract is so much better than a handshake over an ice-cold lager, here are some more reasons why written is way wiser.
Reasons to choose a written legal agreement over a verbal agreement:
1. Roles and Responsibilities
During the course of discussing and negotiating a transaction, you are likely to discuss a variety of possibilities: projects that could be tackled, services that could be delivered, extras that could be included. In fact, the wish list can quickly grow rather long. However, when it comes to actually performing the tasks at hand, having clearly defined roles and responsibilities can prove invaluable. Establishing a defined list of obligations in writing can guard against potential confusion and helps to manage expectations. A good written contract goes beyond mere legal terms. A written legal agreement should clearly state the roles and responsibilities of both parties, firmly grounding expectations. Should any misunderstanding arise you can easily refer back to the written document and resolve the issue in an expeditious and relatively painless manner.
2. Dispute Resolution
Having a written agreement in place increases the likelihood that the parties to the agreement will acknowledge the transaction and abide by its terms. If you use written legal contracts to record your agreements there is a reduced likelihood that you will end up in court, as the parties are more inclined to work together to find a solution to any conflict. More than a binding legal agreement, a written contract serves as an important point of reference for both the parties to it.
Written agreements can be enforced more effectively than oral contracts. Many people are unrealistic when it comes to creating contracts, not anticipating that the relationship could meet a rather grisly end. You should not take it for granted that the threads of your relationship, whether business or personal, are strong enough to survive any crisis. The reality of it is that disagreements can and do arise. Even between friends and family members. And often when a close personal relationship is intertwined with a business one. Signing a written legal contract makes its enforceability a lot easier in the face of tenuous relationships, and can even assist you in repairing valuable friendships and mending family rifts.
Too many people fail to establish a written legal agreement when forming relationships or finalising transactions. A written contract is beneficial to all the parties: it serves to clarify the terms of the contract, especially where understanding may have differed had the contract been verbal. The only party that benefits from an oral agreement is the party breaching the contract.
And so it comes to pass that the average businessman finds himself caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Either he finds himself a devil and endures lengthy and expensive legal intervention to get a contract drafted upfront, or he chances it with the deep blue sea only to face even more lengthy and expensive legal intervention to clean up the chaos later.
But thanks to recent developments, getting a contract drafted need no longer shave years off your life and several zeros off your bank balance. You have spoken, we have listened. And we are delighted to introduce our new product: our Custom Drafting Service. You tell us what you want, we draft it for you. All for a set fee, meaning you need no longer dread the ping of every new email in your inbox, fearing your attorney’s bill has finally arrived.
Whether you use our service, the services of a trusted legal adviser, or draft a contract yourself (not recommended if you don’t have drafting experience) what is clear is that a written contract trumps an oral agreement. Always. So check out our contract templates. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, why not give our Agreement Drafting Service a try!
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.