We live in a world where there is a contract for every business transaction there is. Unlike the simpler days when a person’s word of honor was enough, a contract is now necessary to protect the interests of the parties involved in the contract. It is simply too impractical to just take someone’s word for something without having a written document that will allow you to take legal action once any of the terms and conditions of the agreement are violated. So, unless you are dealing with someone you trust entirely, such as a friend or a loved one, it would be best to use a Contract Form.
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What Is a Contract?
According to Wikipedia, a Contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. It is what businesses use to protect their interests and the interests of the other party entering the contract as well. Failure to abide by the terms and conditions stipulated in the contract can be subject to legal action or some other agreed upon alternative settlement stipulated in the contract. There are usually two parties involved, both of which should be mentally capable and over 18 years of age. This is important so that the contract will be legally binding. A contract is drafted when there is a mutual agreement between two or more parties. Aside from the ones on this article, you may also see our Business Contract Forms for more samples for your business needs.
Benefits of Contracts
- Using a contract will protect your business interests and ensure the continuity of your business. Imagine a world where there are no contracts and no legal consequences for anything we do. Would that not be a chaotic place? Contracts are the foundation of every business in that they make sure that the specifications that the parties want and have agreed upon are properly imposed. In every transaction or dealings, a contract is there to protect you in case of a fallout.
- In cases of one party violating the terms and conditions, the consequences or settlements for the injured party are explicitly stipulated on the contract. This will lessen disputes and also make sure that the settlements or legal liabilities to the injured party are fair enough, because every contract aims to be fair to both parties entering it.
- Contracts also require for the parties entering it to be mentally competent and legally able. This is to ensure that the parties entered into the contract on their own volition and not out of coercion. This is also to make sure that the parties understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and everything else stipulated on it, because they are mentally fit or able to do so. You may also see our Contract Cancellation Forms for samples and more information on what grounds a contract can be cancelled.
Benefits of Using Pre-made Contract Forms
- Using our pre-made Contract Forms will allow you to save time and energy that would have to spend when you make these forms from scratch. This way, you can focus on other productive areas of your business and get more things done. You need all the help you can get, since running a business can be really tedious. Our Contract Forms are in PDF Format, so you can download them and use them as basis for your own forms.
- Contract Forms have all the proper sections of what a general contract should look like, so it will be hard for you to miss any information. These Contract Forms are divided into various parts that would allow the organization of information for easier access. You may add any necessary information according to the purpose of your contract. You may also see our Business Agreement Forms.
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Requirements of a Contract
For an agreement, a simple common understanding between two parties of their respective responsibilities and rights is enough, but there is actually more to that for contracts. Here are the requirements for a contract to be legally binding and enforceable in any court of law:
- Offer and acceptance: There has to be a specific offer by one party and an explicit statement of the acceptance of such offer by another party. These offers would then have to be accepted by both parties by their own will and without coercion. Coercion makes a contract null and void. Both parties also have to agree on the specific terms and conditions of the contract and have an explicit statement of the intent of both parties to enter into a legally binding agreement.
- Consideration: A contract is entered into when something of value is exchanged by both parties. There has to be an exchange of money, goods, or services to make the contract legally binding. An example is a Real Estate Contract Form, wherein a real estate company sells a house or real estate property to an individual for a specified amount of money. One exception to this though is the Contract for Deeds. You may browse through our Contract for Deeds Forms for samples and more information regarding this type of contract.
- Competence: A contract has to be entered into by two parties or entities that are legally competent to enter into it. As mentioned earlier, the parties involved have to be over the age of 18 and mentally capable. That means that they are able to fully comprehend the specifications and implications of the contract. Otherwise, a person cannot be expected to fulfill the terms of the contract, if he does not fully understand what it means and what the consequences are to breaching the stipulations on the contract.
- Legal Purpose: For a contract to be enforceable in any court of law, of course, it would have to be legal as well. This means that the purpose of the contract itself is legal, and that no illegal dealings or transactions are involved. This also means that all the terms and conditions stipulated on the contract are just and fair for both parties entering it. This is very important because this is the very essence of a contract – to make sure that everything in the dealing or transaction is just and fair.
Given these requirements for a contract to be legally binding, it is also good to keep in mind that any contract can also be terminated provided that it meets the conditions for it to be considered null and void. One example is when the contract has already been completed, so that there is no need to enforce the contract. Another example is the inability of one party to perform his responsibilities as stated on the contract. The common causes of this are when one of the parties has passed away or acts of God, such as the sale of a house that gets destroyed by a hurricane. You may also see our Employment Contract Forms for your employment contracts.
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General Parts of a Contract
- Parties: The first part of a contract is a clear identification of the parties involved in the contract. One party is usually the one who will pay for the goods or services, while the other party is the one providing such paid-for goods and services. They can be termed as the payor and the payee or supplier of the contract, respectively.
- Agreement: This is where the consideration of the contract is stated. This is also the purpose of the contract. This is where the goods and services that will be provided is stated, and if there are any additional parties, such as subcontractors, who will be assisting in the completion of the service. This part is usually just a general statement and can be a sentence or two only.
- Terms and Conditions: This part is for providing more details of the contract. This is where it will be stated how long the service will take, what the extent of the service is, if there are any insurance policies involved, and any other necessary terms and conditions that both parties would deem fit or necessary for their contract. There are also some contracts that have special terms, wherein there are stipulations of what circumstances may render the contract null and void.
- Definitions: This is the part where the parties in a contract can provide specific definitions of terms used in the contract. A specific definition being the meaning of the term in a particular contract. This part can be used to give definition to trade terms or terms that may have an alternate meaning. This is important so that nothing is left vague in the contract.
- Signatures of Both Parties: For the contract to be legally binding, it has to be signed by both parties entering it. Their signatures indicate their acceptance of the terms and conditions of the contract, and their intent to enter into a legally binding agreement. This is very important so that legal action can be taken in case one party cannot fulfill those given terms and conditions.
These are only the general parts of a contract. For every purpose and format of a contract, there may be other added sections that are not on the list above. This is because contracts can be flexible, so long as they are just and reasonable.
Construction Contract Forms
When a company hires a contractor for their construction needs, a Construction Contract Form has to be drawn up. This type of Contract Form contains information on the extent of work or construction to be done, the permits to be acquired, the equipment and materials to be used, the payment of the employer to the contractor, the schedule of the work to be done and when it can be expected to be completed, and any insurance policies present in the contract, such as a Contractor Risk Insurance Policy.
A Construction Contract Form can be used for both residential and commercial constructions. They can also be used for a construction of a whole building or simply just for a renovation and development of a building.
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