Wait! Don't Sign That Contract Without Knowing A Few Dos And Don'ts

Written and unwritten contracts are an important part of the legal system. They form the basis of many personal and business transactions between two or more parties. Before you enter into a legally binding contract, especially when money is involved, you want to take steps to avoid any legal entanglements by having a basic understanding of what to do and not to do. 

Read It--All Of It!

If someone hands you a contract, never sign it without first reading through it. Read it a second time to make sure you understand it. You should never allow someone to pressure you into a signing a contract after just skimming over its contents. Take your time and read it thoroughly. Think about what you're getting into before you sign it. 

Don't Sign What You Don't Understand

If you've read through a contract carefully but still having trouble understanding all the terms involved, ask someone you trust to read it for you. Or better yet, ask an attorney, such as Attorney Steven N. Long, P.C., to read it.

Never enter into or try to negotiate a contract you don't understand, especially when a large amount of money is involved or the contract obligates you to do something really important. 

Once you've put your signature on the proverbial dotting line, contracts can only be broken under certain conditions:

  • Fraud
  • Breach of contract
  • Signing under duress
  • Both parties agree to cancel it

Cross Out What You Disagree To

While reading the contract, use your pen to mark out any terms you don't agree to and write your initials next to what you've deleted. If you want to add something, write it in and initial it the same way. You can sign it after you've finished. The other party can decide if he or she wants to go through with the deal after reading your changing. If not, at least you're not entering into a deal you are not comfortable with. 

If you do decide to mark out certain terms or add some in, make sure the changes you make go through every copy of the contract you sign.

You can also voice your concerns to the other party, but don't trust him or her and sign the document with a promise to make changes later. Wait until changes are made before signing. 

Whether you realize it or not, you enter contracts all the time. When you hire a contractor, take out a bank loan, sign a credit card agreement, or buy a car and so on. Sometimes these contracts are so much a part of your life, you may not stop to realize that you are entering into a legally-binding agreement. So don't sign any contract without first understanding what you are agreeing to, and if necessary, hire an attorney to help you.