A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more persons. It is critical for the person signing the contract to take time and ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions outlined in the contract.
Read the entire contract
This may seem obvious, but make sure you read the contract from start to finish. The contract should include and omit everything that has been discussed verbally. A mistake some often make is only reading the fine print; whilst this is important, it is equally important to read the whole contract. Make sure the contract is consistent with the negotiations that were discussed with the other parties.
Following on from the first point, if you rush into the contract or only flick through it, chances are you’ll miss something which could have dangerous consequences. Don’t be pressured to sign the contract on the spot. Take it away with you and read it in your own time making sure you fully understand everything listed in the contract.
Just because someone gives you a standard written contract does not mean you have to agree to it in its entirety. If you are unhappy or do not agree with a cause in the contract, negotiate with the other party involved. Chances are if you both really want the agreement to go ahead, the other party may be willing to amend the contract.
Make sure the contract is complete before you sign it
Signing an incomplete contract is a recipe for disaster. Never sign anything that is not completed and has noticeable blanks. If the other party is pestering for you to sign the contract, let them know you will not be signing until the contract is completed. Signing the contract before it is completed runs the risks that the other party may insert something in the contract you have not agreed to.
Consider having a lawyer review the document
It’s definitely worth considering having a lawyer review any important legal contract if you don’t understand any part of it. Contracts are often complex and written in legal terms which naturally make it hard for a person with no expertise in the area of law. A lawyer can inform you of any issues with the contract and can also explain any part of the contract that may be confusing you.
As mentioned above, if you are in any way hesitant about signing the contract you should seek advice from a lawyer. Our lawyers at The Quinn Group can review contracts on your behalf and inform you of any clauses that may need further explanation. Contact us on 02 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry at www.quinns.com.au