Ideally, I get to help clients head off any legal issues before they even arise. Unfortunately, however, many people wait until a problem has festered and spread before they consult an attorney. If I could go back in time and give them one tip, it would be to write it down.
There often comes a point in a consultation when I ask someone, “You got it in writing, right?” and there’s this long pause while I get a sinking feeling, and then I hear, “Well, about that….”
Sure, making deals with a handshake and a smile may seem warm, friendly, and safe at the time, but write it down. Buying something for your organization? Doing business with a friend? Write it down.
Sometimes people don’t bother to get agreements in writing because they feel pressured, don’t want to be a pain, or because they think that contracts have to be long, involved, expensive documents (tip: not necessarily). Plus, after all, what’s the worst that could happen, right? Think of it this way: you don’t want to have to find out.
Even a very simple written statement of your transaction could make all the difference, so save yourself the trouble later on and just write it down.
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Please note: This blog is intended as general educational information only, and should not be considered legal advice or a substitute for consulting a lawyer.