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8 Reasons Why You Should NOT Draft Your Own Contracts

Posted on in Business Law

contractBy Attorney, Denis Regan

The do-it-yourself mentality is often a good thing. It can save a lot of money, and can prove to be very gratifying. However, there are things that are best left to an expert. There are plenty of do-it-yourself contract sites out on the internet and just as many fill in the blank contract templates for everything from real estate to employment. While these documents might look like a quick and easy way to cover all the legalities of a particular situation, using them could actually cause more problems and oversights. Here are seven reasons why it is best to leave the drafting of contracts to an attorney.

1. Ligation is Expensive - while you might have saved money using a do-it-yourself contract, if you happen to miss any necessary verbiage and find yourself in a difficult situation because of this oversight, the litigation fees you will pay to undo the tangled web will likely cost you much more than having an expert draft the contract in the first place.

2. Too Many Details - contracts are designed to cover all probable situations as well as the unforeseen circumstances that could cause issues down the road. They also are often written for the laws and ordinances in a specific state, county or city. However, it is rare that a do it yourself form will cover every possible scenario or meet all state and local laws and ordinances. Just as a certified public account knows the hidden tax breaks you have coming, an attorney knows loopholes and local ordinances you might have missed.

3. Are You Breaking the Law? - while it might not be intentional, there may be some laws that you are inadvertently breaking within the confines of your contract. It is always important to have an expert make sure that you are within the limitations of current state and local laws before you sign on the dotted line.

4. Is it Valid? - The subject matter of the contract will determine the detail necessary for the contract to be valid. Sometimes contracts require legal verifications, witnesses and inclusion of specific terms that a lay person or party to the contract may not recognize. Without a lawyer's participation, the document could be deemed invalid.

5. You Are Liable - When using an attorney to draft a contract, you share the liability of its validity. If you choose to draft the document yourself, you are solely liable for its contents. Generally, provisions later found to be ambiguous by a court are decided against the person drafting the agreement.

6. Second Set of Eyes - as with most important decisions in your life, it is always wise to get a second opinion. Sometimes we are just too close to an issue to make a rational decision. An attorney can give you an unbiased third party opinion about the document and help you make the best decisions for your well being and future.

7. Are you an expert? - If you needed surgery, would you perform it yourself? If you required a root canal would you start drilling away at your own teeth? There are many tasks for which we have some basic knowledge, however to obtain the best possible end result, it is always a better bet to leave it to an expert (link to GRGB).

8. Unintended Consequences - An experienced attorney will provide advise concerning issues related to the contract and allow the client to avoid potential unfavorable consequences not anticipated by the client.

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