LEGALDOCS - General Contract
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This form allows you to create a basic contract between two or more parties. This form is very general and simplistic. If you need a contract for a specific purpose which is covered by other documents at this site (for example, a residential lease, a bill of sale, guaranty agreement, partnership agreement, or any of the other forms show in this List of all Documents, use that specific form. Because a contract can be for almost any purpose, this form was, and has to be, kept very general and non-specific.
One word of caution. Just because an agreement can be put in writing does not make it legal and/or binding. For example, a written contract regarding a bet on a sporting event would generally be illegal, and thus non-enforceable. Same for a contract regarding other illegal activities. Many contracts, to be enforceable, need to contain certain language or other matters to make them enforceable. For example, most construction contracts require the builder's contractor's license number. Another example is an automobile financing contract, which needs certain financial and truth-in-lending disclosures per federal and state laws.
Why put agreements between two or more parties in writing? Primarily for evidence. Most contracts can be entered into verbally, and are just as enforceable as written contracts. The problem is that if a dispute arises, there generally is little or no evidence of what was agreed to, except for the conflicting testimony of the parties. Also, over time, people's memories change, usually in the direction most benefitting that particular person. A written contract helps people remember what was agreed to, and if a dispute arises, gives the judge proof of what was agreed to. Also, some contracts are not considered legal unless they are in writing - examples are a contract for the sale of real estate, and a contract to guarantee the debt of another.
When writing your contract, play the "what about" game. Think of different scenarios which can unfold. If your contract is for a handyman to clean the back yard, ask yourself the questions: what about hauling waste to the dump - is that included in the price; what about dump fees - is that included; what about mileage; what about disposal of hazardous materials (i.e., cans of old paint) which cannot legally be taken to the dump; what if the handyman breaks the window he is trying to fix because the aluminum frame is corroded - who pays, etc.
A contract does not have to be in legalese or complicated language. Stay away from "hereinabove", "the first party", etc. State what your agreement is in as plain terms as possible. For example:
Every Saturday morning beginning between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., John Detailman will wash, wax and detail Sally Johnson's 1980 Cadillac. John will provide his own equipment and supplies, and agrees to use non-liquid Frog's wax. John will also detail the inside of the car, including vacuuming the floor and upholstery, and cleaning the dashboard and windows. As payment for these services, Sally will pay John $50 each time John does the job just described. Payment to be made the same day as the work performed. If either John or Sally cannot be available at that time, each will call the other no later than 5 p.m. the preceding day. If John comes to detail the car and Sally or the car is not available and did not call John as required, Sally agrees to pay John $10 for showing up at the job. If John fails to show at the appointed time without notifying Sally, John will perform the detail at the rate of $40. This contract can be terminated by either party at any time by giving 24 hours' notice to the other party.
If both John and Sally date and sign the above written agreement, it's an enforcable contract. Note: if the above is done verbally it is still an enforcable contract; however, putting the agreement in writing provides proof and evidence of the terms of the agreement in the event there is any later dispute. Obviously, more and more items can be included in this contract. For example, does John have to carry insurance? What happens if John uses a chemical that harms the car - who should pay? If John is a business, does John certify that he carries worker's compensation insurance? Etcetera.
To create a General Contract, complete this Form.
INFORMATION REGARDING THE PARTIES TO THE CONTRACT
- Please enter the following information about the parties to this Contract:
WHO HAS TO DO WHAT
- Type in what the parties are promising to do. Use complete sentences and punctuation, and be as descriptive as possible. You can use one or more paragraphs, for example using the first paragraph to describe what the first party will do, and the second paragraph for the second party.
If you have more than one paragraph and/or need to format paragraphs, use the following coding to form new paragraphs, line breaks and/or indents. If you use a paragraph insert, also use an indent insert to keep the final document consistent.
Be sure to include a provision of what the Second Party is promising to do. The Second Party has to do something; i.e., pay money, do some return services, give up something the Second Party is entitled to, etc. If the Second Party is not required to do anything in return, there is no independent consideration (a legal term meaning "to do something a person is not legally required to do absent this agreement"), and the contract would not be enforceable. Doing something you already are required to do is not "consideration"; for example, promising to not steal a car would not be valid consideration.
Sally is driving to St. Paul this weekend to purchase vehicle supplies at an automobile warehouse. Jane has asked Sally to purchase a number of items from that same warehouse for Jane's benefit. A list of the items are attached to this contract. Jane is giving Sally $1,000 to purchase all of these items, and Sally will purchase those items for Jane, and will deliver these items at Jane's house located at 123 Main Street, along with an invoice for all monies spent. In return for purchasing these items for Jane, Jane will pay Sally $75, which can be deducted from the $1,000 when Sally delivers the items to Jane.
John agrees to let Sally use John's 1994 Jeep Cherokee for the months of July and August, 2006 while John is away on vacation. Sally agrees to pay John $200 per month for the use of the vehicle, and ten cents per mile for each mile the car is driven in excess of 1,000 miles. The current odometer reading is __________ miles. Sally agrees to pay for any damage to the car, except for ordinary wear and tear and equipment malfunction or breakdown which is not the fault of Sally. Sally agrees to return the car with a full tank of gas, and agrees to use only "Supreme" brand gasoline with an octane rating of 92 or higher. John and Sally realize that John's insurance may not cover Sally's use of the car, and Sally agrees to maintain minimum insurance coverage for the car.
John can store his tools in Paul's garage until John and Paul agree otherwise. A list of the tools stored is attached to this contract. As long as Paul keeps the tools in his house, Paul can use the tools in the manner they are intended to be used. Paul agrees to maintain the tools properly, and will clean and oil the tools on a weekly basis. Paul will give John access to the tools upon 2 hours notice from John to Paul that John wants access to the tools, and John can pick-up and retrieve any or all of his tools by giving Paul 24 hours' notice. If Paul wants John to remove any or all of John's tools from Paul's house, Paul will give John at least 3 day's notice to pick up his tools.
- Lastly, you may want to include a sentence on how the agreement may be terminated. If you want to insert a termination clause, complete the following sentence: This agreement may be terminated as follows:
- For Example:
"Either party may give the other party 4 day's written notice to terminate this contract." (OR)
"Either party may terminate this contract at any time." (OR)
"This contract will terminate when the duties described above have been completed.".
- If you leave this termination space blank (for example, if the termination provisions are included in the other language you drafted above), the final contract will have no separate termination paragraph.
If either party to this General Contract brings a legal action against the other party, should the party winning the lawsuit be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees in addition to that party's other recovery?
Yes, the final document will provide that the prevailing party's attorney's fees will be paid by the non-prevailing party.
No, the final document will state that each party will be responsible for its own attorney's fees.
This General Contract is entered into in the:
This completes the information input for your General Contract. When you Send this Form, this program will prepare a Summary of the General Contract for your review. Make sure that all facts stated in the Summary are correct in all respects.
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