I Am Joe’s Contract
I’ve helped Joe buy his house and his car, helped get his children loans for school, and helped insure his family. Each year Joe and I arrange for hundreds of purchases of goods or services. If something ever goes wrong with me, I could cost Joe a lot of money, time and trouble. But Joe hardly ever takes me seriously, or gives me enough attention.
I am Joe’s Contract.
A contract is an agreement to exchange things of value. When Joe bought his house, he agreed to pay the seller, and in return he got the house. Things of value were exchanged. There was an offer by Joe, an acceptance by the seller, and an agreement on all terms. The money and the house were “consideration”. Usually a contract must have these elements to be legally binding.
To have a contract, Joe must also be mentally competent, and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This is to make sure that Joe is legally able to accept the offer and agree to the terms of the contract.
Likewise, Joe’s minor children are protected. In most cases, if they sign a contract, they may cancel it. This rule protects them against older, more experienced people who could take advantage of them. (There are exceptions. For instance, a minor may have to honor a contract for necessities, such as medical bills, housing or food.) Joe is usually asked to co-sign the contract of his minor children. In that way, he is saying that he will honor the terms of the contract.
Generally, a contract may be either written or spoken. However, if a contract is spoken, not written, and it is disputed, a court will have only one party’s word against the other’s. For everyone’s protection, it is always preferable to have a written contract. In fact, certain kinds of contracts, such as land sales, must be in writing.
Many contracts that Joe signs are long and complicated. Some are in tiny print. Lawyers have written those contracts for their clients, and they protect the interests of those clients. This may not be in Joe’s best interest. I wish he would read those contracts carefully before he signs them. I wish he would question the contents more carefully, and ask for changes to protect himself. Although some contracts may be illegal or so unfair they are not enforceable, Joe can’t count on that to undo a contract he has signed. So, if after reading a contract, he still doesn’t understand it, I wish he would have a lawyer look it over, just to make sure he knows what he is signing.
As Joe’s contract, I don’t want to cost him a lot of money unnecessarily. I want to help him get the things he wants in life. If only he understood me better.
To draft your contract, or review something you’ve been asked to sign, call us at 301-251-1600.