Contracts are documents that define and protect the rights of both parties in a transaction. A contact is essential for all business dealings. A contract is only helpful if it is properly written and executed. A well-executed contract is essential in avoiding contract disputes. There are some things you can do to ensure that the contract protects you during and after the transaction.

Take Time for a Contract

Handshake deals may seem sufficient at the time, but failing to have a real contract in place could cause a dispute later. All transactions, regardless of their size or complexity, should be protected with a written contract. Some people mistakenly believe that when they are dealing with a friend or family member, a contract isn’t necessary. Actually, that is the best time to have a contract, because a disagreement could actually create rift in the relationship.

Include Everything

Make sure that the contract includes exactly what is needed to complete the transaction. It should state exactly what is being delivered, when it will be completed, and how much it will cost. The contract should include as much detail as possible. If changes are required, a method for making a change to the contract should be in place.

All too often, people make statements or promises that are not included in the contract. If something is promised, be sure that it is stated in the contract. When something isn’t in the contract, it isn’t part of the deal, even if the statement was made verbally. The contract should be clear and precise, so that both parties are in agreement to their understanding of it.

Obtain Signatures

As simple as it may sound, the failure to have both parties sign a contract happens quite often, but is easily avoided. Make certain that the responsible party signs the contract; an essential matter, but one that is easily overlooked. Get signatures on each page of the document and have the document notarized. Taking this extra step offers a great deal of protection, because the parties cannot deny that they signed the contract.

Have an Attorney Review the Contract

A poorly written contract may be worse than having no contract at all. It is usually worthwhile to have an attorney draft or review the contract before signing it. This will guarantee that the contract contains all the information and sections necessary. Your attorney will ensure that the contract is written properly and offers protection to you in all of the important areas of concern, to keep you from being involved in a dispute later on.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Avoiding Contract Disputes, or any other commercial litigation matters, please feel free to contact Joel E. Sannes at 480.461.5307, or log on to,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.