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Contract Pointers 

from the Attorneys at Jones & Swartz Landmark Legal Group

“A written contract is the highest evidence of the terms of the agreement between the parties, and every contracting party must learn and know the contents of the writing before he signs and delivers it.” Constantine v. McDonald, 25 Idaho 342, 343, 137 P. 531, 531 (1913).

 Contracts should be written in plain language that you understand.  Don’t sign it if you do not understand it. 

"If a person cannot read the language in which a contract is written, it is as much his duty to procure some person to read and explain it to him before he signs it as it would be to read it before he signed it if he were able to do so, and his failure to obtain a reading and explanation of it is such gross negligence as will estop him from avoiding it on the ground that he was ignorant of its contents."  Constantine v. McDonald, 25 Idaho 342, 343, 137 P. 531, 531 (1913).

Contracts should be voluntary and mutual agreements – you should not sign something you do not understand.  Understand what is written, or propose new language that is clearer.   

Do not sign a form because it is a “form.” A form is not beyond change. Make changes before you sign a and submit a form. 

Never sign something you are not prepared to agree to.  There are ways to negotiate contract terms that work for you and the other party to the contract. 

Never sign something that does not accurately reflect the terms of your agreement.  Make sure the agreement contains all parts of what you are agreeing to. 

"The general rule is well established that, when a contract is reduced to writing, it constitutes the final agreement of the parties as to its subject matter, and prior or contemporaneous oral agreements or statements varying or adding to its terms are not admissible."  Milner v. Earl Fruit Co., 40 Idaho 339, 347 (1925).

The time to make the best contract possible

is before you sign it. 

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