These quick tips when signing a contract or other legal document may seem self-explanatory, but collectively are some of the most crucial points to remember. When it comes to buying property or starting a business they are often quick, emotion-based decisions. Taking note of these 7 quick tips may prevent years of heartache and thousands of dollars in the future.
Tip No.1 – Don’t sign anything until you read it. You’d be surprised at how often people will simply sign the first thing that is placed in front of them. Take the time to read the document carefully, and understand that usually when you sign something, it’s legally binding.
Tip No. 2 – Don’t sign anything until you understand it. Never feel embarrassed to ask questions about the document you are signing. Don’t forget that when it comes to understanding legal terminology and jargon, it’s best to let someone with your best interests at heart explain what it entails, such as your solicitors.
Tip No. 3 – Don’t sign anything unless you agree with it. Even if you disagree with a term or a condition, unless the document is actually altered before you sign it, it’s still legally binding. Let your solicitor negotiate to remove it or make it more favourable for you.
Tip No. 4 – If someone asks “Don’t you trust me? “ The answer is “It is not an issue of trust; it is an issue of making sure things are done properly”. For peace of mind, and for future security, never rely on anyone’s assurances of a legal document unless you are absolutely certain that you are personally aware of what is in the document that you are signing. When in doubt, consult your legal professional.
Tip No. 5 – Take it to a lawyer before you sign it, not after. Even though you may feel as though you’re missing out on your dream property purchase, the contract itself might end up costing you a fortune. The assurances of an experienced solicitor can save you thousands of dollars in the future, and give you that peace of mind.
Tip No.6 – Written contracts are easier to prove than verbal ones. There’s a reason why lawyers always ask for everything in writing. If you ever negotiate a deal with someone before signing a document, make sure you get it on paper. When it comes to ensuring that the other party makes good on their promises, it never hurts to have some physical evidence.
Tip No.7 – Keep a copy of everything you sign. Keep paper and electronic copies and store them in a safe place. Unfortunately, disputes sometimes arise and good recording keeping trumps hearsay every time. It is also very important that you understand your own obligations with respect to any agreements you have made.
The best tip of all is to always seek professional legal advice before signing any agreement, especially for your business or property purchase. If you feel as though any of the above is applicable to you, our friendly team of experienced Solicitors, Conveyancers and Paralegals at RM Legal are here to help.