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The professional templates can serve you in many ways. Buying goods or services, parking in a public car park for which a payment is required, buying a ticket to travel by train, bus or airline are good examples of contracts we enter into everyday. Every time a trader sells (or buys) goods a contract is entered. Other contracts are sale of land, acquisition of finance, or the leasing of vehicles and equipment.

Contract law is largely based upon common law principles. The law regards a contract that's been dated, signed and duly notarized as binding. The courts will often identify a contract by its terms, and its offer and acceptance.

Signing Contracts

You should always sign an agreement in your true capacity. If the form is for a corporation, sign in your capacity as a corporate official. If you just sign your name, you can be held liable personally on the contract. It could invoke a summons, subpoena, warrant, writ or decretum.

Or worse, you could wind-up in a court of law with a chance you might lose the case, and have a court degree of garnishment of your wages. If you are signing for a partnership, indicate that fact. If you are signing for yourself or your own incorporated business, then you just have to sign your name.

Example 1: Assume that you are the president of a corporation. You should sign as follows:

ABC, Inc.

Peter Madison, President

Example 2: If you are signing an agreement for the benefit of a partnership, use the following format:

A&B Partnership

Peter Madison, Partner

The "Consideration"

The trader "offers" to sell something: the buyer "accepts" the offer by agreeing to buy it. The offer should be clear enough to identify the goods and the terms upon which it is sold. If the buyer suggests a change in the terms, no contract is formed, and further communication is referred to as a "counter offer." It needs to be accepted by the seller before a contract and promissory note is finalized. It is of course, open to the seller to repeat the offer, make a new offer, or break off negotiations. There must also be caveat, covenant or consideration. In commercial agreements, this is simply "the price" which one party is willing to pay the other party for goods or services. Alternatively, for goods or services provided in return for the money to be paid by the first party. Often a store will promote the sale of goods by offering certain other goods as "free offers", for example an "electric kettle" given away free with every refrigerator over $400 purchased. The consideration for the refrigerator is its price in money terms. And the consideration for the kettle is entering into the agreement to buy the refrigerator for an example.

Lawyer Consultation

It's wise to first seek the professional advice of a qualified and experienced attorney prior to entering into any contractual obligation (For example: a duly dated, signed, and notorized legal agreement).

Each State will have its own set of laws when it comes to how a court of law will look at a contact situation between two parties. At the very least, have a local attorney check and review the legal form (and other accompanying legal papers) over carefully before you decide to date and sign it.

Oftentimes it is thought that a contract does not exist if it is not in written form. This is a misconception. While some legal contracts have to be in drafted form, business agreements can be valid and enforceable even in the absence of written evidence of their contents. But in most cases, it's wiser to reduce the legal terms agreed upon to writing because it provides greater evidence of what was originally agreed upon by the parties.

Certain classes of persons have limited juridical powers to contract, the principal groups being minors and bankrupts. Any legal contract made with a minor or a person under 18 years of age, may be unenforceable unless the contract is for things necessary to maintain the particular person his or her normal lifestyle. Examples of "necessaries" could be food, clothes, accommodation, and education. When in doubt, it is wise to have the contract guaranteed by a parent or guardian, and of course, duly notarized. Bankrupts have restrictions placed on their ability to enter into contractual arrangement. The law does provide protection to persons having bona fide dealings with undischarged bankrupts. The latter are liable to penalties if they obtain credit over $200 without disclosing their bankruptcy.