An agreement starts with the meeting of the minds. And when two minds meet and align with each other, harmony and good relationships naturally follows. Communities are formed this way. Unbreakable bonds and lasting unions are possible when similar interests and goals are shared and accomplished. Whether it is for forging close ties with other nations or keeping friendly competition among business enterprises, finding a common ground and having shared interests enables everyone to run a world void of disputes.
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What are Agreements?
Agreements, in a much formal sense, are documents that record the terms and conditions between two or more parties. Terms and conditions are somewhat similar to rules in regulations, where each party’s obligations, rights, and limitations are clearly defined, as well as their roles in the fulfillment of the agreement. Aside from that, the terms and conditions inside an agreement are voluntarily agreed by both parties, where the alignment of interests is held beforehand.
The terms and conditions inside it would depend on two things subject under the agreement—tangible and intangible objects. Physical objects could either be jewelry, houses, money, a tract of land, or anything of value that could be offered for exchange. Intangible objects, on the other hand, are the things that include not doing a certain act in the future or performing a particular service or payment of a thing for sale or rent. How the agreement is fulfilled through these things is purely dependent on the agreeing parties themselves.
Agreements, aside from just being mere documents that record the things agreed by two or more parties, are also legal forms in their own right. With that being said, any provisions inside the agreement should be free from anything contrary to the law of the land, socially accepted norms, as well as moral standards. Also, deals strictly follow the covenant of good faith and the practice of several degrees of diligence. Doing the contrary otherwise renders the whole agreement null, void, and ineffective.
The Makings of An Agreement
Terms and conditions are provisions or series of statements that define or set the borders of an agreement. This includes the obligations, duties, and rights of the parties involved as well as the scope and limitations of the terms and conditions itself. And because agreements are legal documents themselves, its terms shouldn’t contain anything illegal in them. Aside from that, agreements should be voluntarily entered by both or all parties in good faith:
- Offer: Tangible and intangible objects are the things subject to agreements. And for an agreement to be made, an object or thing must be offered by one party to another. These objects could be products and services provided as gifts or donations or acts that the other party promises to do or refrains from doing in the future.
- Acceptance: Agreements are quid pro quo or give and take in nature. If the first prerequisite of an agreement is making an offer to another party, accepting the offer marks the beginning of a contract itself. And although acceptance can be completed by plainly receiving the offer, agreements usually involve things of value or deeds that need a certain amount of time to be completed.
- Consideration: Transactions wouldn’t come to fruition without offering something in exchange. Likewise, the same also applies to agreements, as well. As the previous item said, an agreement is a give and take interaction. The object offered by the other party can be exchanged either with money, identical or similar things, other things of similar value, or by rendering service.
- Mutuality of Obligation: Agreements are created for the mutual benefit of the parties involved. And by such, obligations and responsibilities should be mutually beneficial to both parties as well. One-sided agreements are contrary to the covenant of good faith and the practice of utmost diligence, thus rendering the whole agreement ineffective.
- Competency and Capacity: Terms and conditions of an agreement require the parties involved to willfully or voluntarily agree on them. It means that the parties involved fully understand the provision in the agreement, and are mentally sound upon drafting the provisions itself. Aside from that, agreeing parties should also be at least in the age of consent, and is also free from duress and intimidation.
- Written Instrument: Although agreements are not really required to be made in writing, doing so lets you have something to show as proof in case of fraud and non-fulfillment. Although a word of honor may be considered as the most valuable currency, however, you can really never tell who is trustworthy and who is not.
Why Are Agreements Widely Used?
Humans have been making deals with other humans as far as history’s memory could recall it. Forging alliances with other tribes through trade and intermarriages ensured security as well as survival amid the hostility bought by the elements, predators, and unfriendly tribes. As societies progress, later on, agreements and contracts are made to ensure that transactions are made in good faith as they’re all recorded in clay tablets and notarized by public officials.
As the world became closer and closer as the times go by, nations began making treaties and agreements with one another as their citizens became more active in international trade. But when things turn sour and unsavory from time to time, an international council of countries like the United Nations ensures that disputes don’t end up in conflicts, and good relations are maintained.
How to Draft and Implement an Agreement
Good faith and integrity are the essential ingredients in maintaining and building close ties and healthy relationships. And, maintaining and building close ties and strong relationships leads to harmonious coexistence in our community. Written agreements and others like it are tangible proof that guarantees all those things written above. Whether they be for establishing business partnerships or want transactions to flow as smoothly as possible, drafting and executing agreements can be done with the steps listed down below.
Step 1. Meet and Discuss with Your Partner
Agreements are created through the meeting of two or more minds. And agreements are also made with an irresistible offer or proposal either from you or form another party. Whether that offer or proposal could be a piece of property for lease or a promise to pay outstanding debts, discussing the terms and conditions of how such an offer or proposal must come into fruition must be made before putting them all in writing. And while doing so, it’s best to list each other’s wishes so that you can compare them and find common ground that aligns with each other’s interests.
Step 2. Align your Interests
Sharing the same interests or finding common ground in achieving a certain goal is the first requirement that makes agreements come into effect. While the alignment of each other’s interests is already mentioned previously; however, in this step, aligning each other’s interests can be further achieved by deciding on which of them favors both of you. After deciding which ones to include in the agreement, the next thing to do is to write all of them in the final draft.
Step 3. Seek Legal Opinion
Written agreements are legal forms, first and foremost. And because of that, transactions themselves should be consulted with a lawyer first before putting them into effect. Doing so will help you spot and correct errors, as well as the chance of adding some clauses. Besides, it will also help you avoid the tendency of making the agreement null, void, and ineffective in case you implemented it without seeking attorney’s approval first.
Step 4. Put it on Public Records
Although agreements, in general, don’t necessarily need to be put into public records or be notarized at all. But as a precautionary and safeguard measure, notarization of agreements assures both parties of each other’s compliance with its provisions. Aside from that, notarization helps you prevent fraudulent practices from occurring as a copy of the said agreement is also kept in public records, which can be used as evidence if push comes to shove.
We all wish for peaceful coexistence and harmonious relationship with all our neighbors. Well, who doesn’t? Conflicts bring nothing but further misfortune, lousy business to simply put it. Although relationships turn sour as time passes, disputes and conflicts can be reversed if only we find it within ourselves to seek a common ground on which we can stand on in unity. Agreements, both written and verbal, help us mediate in case a specific interaction is prone to misunderstandings.
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