Business Services: Contracts
When, in the course of an agreement, will you need an attorney?
If you are confused about any aspect of an agreement, do not let anyone talk you out of seeking legal advice when you think you need an interpretation of any provision. If you want to avoid some of the nasty surprises that have left people facing financial losses or lawsuits, an attorney should review any documents BEFORE you sign them.
There is no such thing as a “standard” contract. Even with pre-printed “fill in the blank” forms, there are many blanks that when filled in customize each contract. Take the time to read documents BEFORE you sign them and feel free to tell the other side that you want to seek legal advice.
An attorney is crucial when you do not understand every single document that is being put in front of you. If you don’t understand a word or phrase in a contract, an attorney can tell you what it means. In addition, there are general rules applied to contracts when the contract does not specifically address an issue. An attorney can also point out inconsistencies, that is provisions that conflict with other parts of the contract. Many contracts can be reviewed for a flat rate. The amount you spend on attorney fees having a contract reviewed before you sign it can save you a lifetime of aggravation and possibly thousands of dollars.
The law, as we have been made painfully aware of late, is becoming more complicated and subject to more than one interpretation. By being aware of the legal aspects of the deal, you may avoid legal difficulties in the future.
Finally, try to enlist the services of an experienced attorney if you decide you need one. You should look for thorough, helpful advice and criticism.