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A contract is defined as an agreement between two or more parties that creates an obligation to refrain from doing or not doing a particular thing. The aim of a contract is to establish the agreed terms between the concerned parties. Contracts are enforced by courts should one party fail to abide by the terms laid out in the contract.

An online contract maker is a platform whereby users are able to create contracts. It provides templates you can use to make a contract that will suit your needs. Most online contract makers have different templates for different types of contracts. If you want to use an online contract maker, you should know the key features of a contract. This will help you choose the right contract maker to suit your needs.

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There are nine things you should consider when looking for a contract maker:

1. Language You Can Understand

For a contract to work for both parties, it must be in a language that both parties can understand. The contract maker you choose needs to be in simple language. If you get one with a lot of legal terminologies, you may fail to understand what it is trying to put across. Some people believe a business contract has to be written in “legalese.” Contrary to popular belief, the best contracts, whether in business or otherwise, are written in plain English.

In such a scenario, both parties will understand what they are signing as well as what every provision mean. All you need is be sure the terms written are specific to each party’s obligations. At the same time, there is a need for specific remedies to be used if one party violates the terms of the agreement. For example, there may be a penalty should one party fail to deliver on the agreed terms. Also, take note that certain terms have particular meanings when it comes to law. It is therefore wise to use terms that you fully understand.

An online contract maker should provide the option of using “legalese” or simple English. It should also be capable of numbering and labeling each paragraph. Each paragraph has to conform to the topic of the paragraph to avoid confusion. If an issue in one paragraph is mentioned in another, the contract will need to highlight this. Segmenting a contract to individual units ensures both parties will understand it easily, or even a court if it comes to that.

2. Needs to Be Detailed

Details are very important in any contract. The reason why people breach contracts is due to lack of details. The obligations and rights of each party should be laid out using specific language. There should be no or little room for interpretation. For example, if you are making a delivery contract with another party, you need to use specific language. If you want goods delivered on the 5th and 20th of every month, put the same in the contract. Using terms such as early and mid-month leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

In some cases, all parties may decide to add a new term. They may also decide to change an existing term. If this is the case, the contract has to be amended with the changes highlighted. The online contract maker of your choice should be able to make such changes to suit your preferences. The contract maker also needs to have a dictionary of sorts. This will help you decide which terms to use and understand their meaning before you use them.

3. Include Payment Details

A contract needs details on how payments are going to be made. These details should include a down payment where applicable, how the remainder of the money is going to be paid, and the payment method you would prefer. For example, you may want an upfront payment of 50% and the rest once the project has been completed. This should be stated in the contract as well as the terms of how the remaining payment will be released.

For example, if you contract someone to paint your office space, you may need a provision that states payments are contingent on certain terms. You may decide to base the terms on the number of rooms painted or for the whole project. If you are doing regular payments contingent on the number of rooms painted, you may need this stated in the contract. At the same time, the contract should have payment methods such as credit, check, cash, or wire transfer. Make sure the requirements and dates are also included. In most cases, contract disputes center on money. You will need to be as specific as possible to avoid such disputes.

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4. Confidentiality

A good online contract maker needs to have a provision for confidentiality. When you are in business with an individual or entity, the other party is likely to get an insight and gain access to your trade secrets and possibly your business practices. This information can be detrimental to your business if it gets into the wrong hands. For instance, if you are planning to launch a new product, you will need this information to be confidential until the product is launched. Otherwise, your competitors may develop a better project to compete with the one you plan on launching.

Confidentiality ensures you reduce the chances of the other part sharing your business practices or trade secrets. The online contract maker should include a clause that forbids the other party from disclosing any of your business information. Additionally, it needs to bind the other party from disclosing information in the contract to other parties.

5. Terminating the Contract

At one point or another, the contract will need to be terminated. With this in mind, you will need to have a termination process within the contract. This may be after the obligations are completed or before. There are some avoidable circumstances, although rare, that may lead to the termination of a contract. Knowing what to do in such a scenario is important to avoid any conflicts.

If one party continually fails to perform their duties or misses payments, you will need a mechanism in place which allows you to legally and effectively terminate the contract. This can be part of the contract in the form of a mutual termination agreement. Such an agreement is where the objectives of each party have been satisfactorily met. On the other hand, you can have an agreement which states that one party can terminate the contract should the other party violate a major term of the contract. In the latter, there should be proper notice of the intent to terminate before the contract is terminated.

6. Laws of the Region Governing the Contract

Laws are not the same, and they vary with the region you are in. With this in mind, it is wise to have a contract that follows the laws of the land. One region may have laws governing breach of contract that are totally different from another region. If you are dealing with a business or individual that are not from your region, you should make sure the contract follows the laws of the region where the business will be done.

Alternatively, you should include a clause that states the laws that would be followed in each region. If you did not consider the laws of a region, there may be a big problem when a dispute arises. For example, different states have different state laws. If there is a dispute without such a clause, it will be hard to determine the laws that will be used to resolve the dispute. It is therefore wise to decide the laws that will be applicable to the contract at the inception of making the contract. The online contract maker should help you decide on the different laws by region to make this work easily for you.

7. Attorney and Remedy Fees

It is common to have contracts issues between parties. One side may feel they are being shortchanged by other. At the same time, one side may decide to breach the contract. In such a scenario, the problem can only be resolved by an arbitrator or in court. This will mean hiring a lawyer to argue your case, whether you are the victim or perpetrator. Legal fees are not cheap. They may set you back hundreds and even thousands of dollars. To avoid this, you can include a clause that will ensure your attorney fees are covered.

If you believe the other party will fail to meet their obligations, and you want to be comfortable when you are suing them, you need to include a clause that awards attorney fees. This is where the clause states that should you win the case, your attorney fees will be paid by the losing party. If you do not include this clause, you will have to pay for an attorney out of your pocket. We all know good attorneys charge high fees. Such a clause may give you peace of mind when you are suing the other party.

8. Arbitration and Mediation Clause

Disputes are common when more than one party is involved in a business endeavor. In a contract, disputes are also common. Normally people try to find a way to solve the issue out of court. This is due to the fact that costs involved with going to court are quite high. To avoid losing money, people often find a solution out of court. This is something you should consider when you are designing a contract.

Including a provision that requires both parties to enter into an arbitration or mediation, or both, whichever may be advantageous. Take note mediation is a voluntary process. It requires both parties to try and work out their issues directly using a third party mediator. The third party may be someone who is impartial, or a professional who offers mediation and arbitration services. During the process, any settlement has to be approved by both parties. If one party is not satisfied, the process will continue until a mutual understanding is reached.

Arbitration is a considered to be a process that is more adversarial. In this case, the arbitrator listens to arguments from both sides. Since this happens when mediation has failed, the arbitrator will make a decision using the arguments of both parties. Whatever the arbitrator decides is final and should be followed by each party in the dispute. Arbitration is more of a trial setting. However, it is cheaper and quicker than litigating in court.

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9. The Contract Should Be Enforceable

Writing a contract, even when using an online contract maker, might seem like an easy process. Take note that most people forget the legal basis of the contract. You may think you have covered all the bases, but you may not have made it enforceable. This means it will not hold water in court. It may not be able to protect you when you are in trouble or when the other party breaches the contract. Making it enforceable is important if you want it to have an impact when an issue arises.

The best way to make a contract enforceable is by making sure you work with a lawyer. An online contract maker might help you come up with a great contract. However, the application may not be able to make it enforceable. Once you have made a draft of the contract, consult with a lawyer and ask them to give you an insight into any areas you may have missed.

A lawyer will be able to improve the contract by including terms that are favorable to you. They may also point out small mistakes you may have ignored, but which have a big impact when it’s interpreted. Make sure the lawyer explains everything they are doing and why they are doing it. Any changes they make should be explained so that it does not change the meaning and terms of the contract.

Bottom Line

Coming up with a contract is not a daunting task. However, you should be careful how you go about it. Use these tips to guide you in the right direction.

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