Of course, we all need to protect ourselves from the nasty world out there, but today, I’m referring specifically to legal agreements. I have lost count of the times where clients have said to me:
“He was my best friend/partner/brother and I trusted him with my life! There was no need to put anything into writing because we shook hands/bumped chests/rubbed noses”.
And of course, eventually this iron clad verbal agreement goes pear shaped (please now refer back to title and image and have a sensible chuckle). Letters of demand and litigation ensue and sadly, best friends become sworn enemies.
This can be avoided by putting your verbal agreement into writing. A written legal agreement clearly sets out the rights and obligations of the parties, expressly dictates the parameters of the arrangement, provides indemnities if necessary and contains
dispute resolution mechanisms.
If things go pear shaped, as they sometimes do, the parties will have recourse to a written document, which will provide tangible guidance to resolve the dispute, or to part ways without needing to have recourse to litigation.
Sometimes even if you do have a written agreement, it is worthwhile having a lawyer review the terms and conditions of that agreement. This is because lawyers do not only provide advice about what is written in the agreement, but what is not! It’s the missing parts that can cause the most trouble and a good lawyer will provide advice on the parts that are missing from your agreement.
It always helps to have a fresh pear of eyes!