TIPS FOR CUSTOMIZING
by Joelle Steele
If you are going to try to customize a contract template you purchased online — from me or anyone else — there are a few things you should always do to ensure that your contract will be understood by the people entering into it and that it will be enforceable should it ever be challenged in a court of law. So here are a few helpful tips for customizing your contract template:
Keep a copy of the original template, make a copy of it, and customize the copy for regular use.
Make sure the names and information in the first paragraph and at the signature lines are accurate.
Renumber the paragraphs if you add or delete one or more of them.
Update any references to specific paragraphs if you renumber the paragraphs.
Define all terms in writing so that everyone is on the same page as far as what they mean.
Write using simple language and short sentences, and always check your spelling.
Be extremely careful about punctuation, as errors in punctuation can change the meaning.
Be careful with conjunctions like "and" and "or" as they can change the meaning of a sentence.
Always have your contract reviewed by an attorney after you customize it and before you sign it.
Be sure you both read the contract very carefully before you sign it.
Never sign any contract unless you understand it fully and are sure you want to enter into it.
Be sure that both of you have a copy of the contract — sign two originals if you like.
Have your contract notarized if you feel the need to verify the identity of the other person signing it.
If you want to change the contract after signing it, use a written Work Change Order to do so.