What are some common mistakes in contract writing?
- Sounding too vague, general, or complicated
- Not authenticating signatures
- Rushing through the process
- Not keeping track of revisions
- Not consulting an attorney
It can be tough to write up a contract from scratch, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. If you’re not careful, you might end up making some of these common mistakes. Not to worry! We’ve got some tips on how to avoid these mistakes and some tools for making your contract drafting process even easier. Here are some common contract writing mistakes, and how to solve them:
Sounding too vague, general, or complicated
If your writing has a lot of errors, room for miscommunication, or too much legalese, you can expect to confuse the parties involved. Unfortunately, space for confusion is also space for mistakes or, worse, incidents with ill intent.
A good rule of thumb when writing up contracts is to be specific. Be as detailed as you can, especially in cases where the details will matter most: when discussing who’s involved and under what parameters the contract takes place, any limits to the stipulations, and what happens if the terms aren’t followed.
Keep the heavy legal terms at a minimum when writing your first draft, and let your lawyer put the necessary ones in during your next or final drafting. It’s alright to refer to your clause checklist for common legal terms, but don’t overfill your contract with terms your parties won’t understand. Not only will it make the contract confusing, but it might even intimidate your parties so that they’ll choose not to sign.
Rushing through the process
Writing up a contract takes a long time, and negotiations can take even longer. Just because you’ve invested the time to make stipulations as clear as possible doesn’t mean you can skip time on other things like doing your research, accounting for fortuitous events, or consulting a lawyer (which we’ll discuss further later on).
Basically, if a contract isn’t ready or you have doubts about some sections, don’t send it out and hope for the best. If the other party is observant enough, they’ll surely pick up on the areas of doubt in your contract and contest these, or even refuse your contract altogether. You don’t want to lose them just because you weren’t careful or patient enough.
Not keeping track of revisions
It might feel a bit tedious to keep track of all the revisions your contract goes through, especially for a digital document that multiple people are editing or have access to, but we cannot stress enough how important that is. Losing track of revisions leaves room for error, changes made after the document is signed, or accusations of the same.
Use a solution that can keep track of all the changes or actions made to your document as well as the date and time those changes/actions were made, so you have a record of all the versions your contract goes through.
Not only that, if changes are made to the stipulations after a contract is signed, the esignatures on that contract are automatically invalidated. That reduces the risk of someone getting a hold of your contract and making changes to it after it has already been agreed upon.
Not authenticating electronic signatures
Unless your signatory is personally signing the contract right in front of you, how can you be 100% sure it’s their signature on the page? Unfortunately, if you’re relying on a standard electronic signature—that is, if you asked them to print it out, sign it, scan it and then send it back to you (or some variation of the process)—you can’t fully authenticate a signature.
Fortunately, the solution to this issue is right here. Twala secures esignatures with blockchain technology that accurately determines and verifies the signatory’s identity through AI-powered facial recognition versus their government-issued ID. Additionally, esignatures are encrypted in such a way that they can only be decoded by a specific key assigned to the signatory. These security measures ensure that your contracts are being signed by the right people and the document is tamper-proof after both parties have signed.
Not consulting an attorney
Finally, it’s very important to remember that you are not an expert on contract law, so it’s best to talk to someone who is. At the very least, have all your contracts assessed or checked by a lawyer, if you won’t have one write up your template from scratch. This way, you know that the terms you are proposing are not just fair to both parties involved, but advantageous. That’ll also mean the parties will be more likely to sign, simply because they know the terms are mutually and equally beneficial.
We’ve discussed some common contract writing mistakes as well as how to remedy them during the process of drafting up your contracts. With this information and the added security granted to you by Twala’s digital signature app, we know you’ll be writing up better contracts in no time.