Contract Law Attorney in Overland Park, Kansas
The dream of owning a home in the United States is popular, and so is the dream of establishing a business. The one thing that both have in common, besides taking on risk, is that you will have to enter into agreements, or contracts, with others.
With a business, you may have the money upfront to begin operations, but from that point on, you generally will need the help of others to make your enterprise successful. Unless you run some kind of web-based operation by yourself from your home – and even then, you’ll probably find yourself relying on the services or patronage of others – you are going to need to strike deals with different people and entities to make your business grow.
For instance, if you sell products, you will no doubt need a source for those products. Even if you provide services yourself, such as doing accounting and tax services for others, you will need to enter into agreements with your own clients upon what you offer and how you back it up – again, contractual obligations. It’s generally a rule of business in America that you will end up with binding agreements to make your enterprise functional and successful.
The bottom line is that you need to get everything you agree to in writing. If you are considering opening a business or you are already operating a business in or around Overland Park, Kansas, contact our team at Coppaken Law Firm to review all your contractual agreements and ensure they are spelled out in legal terms. We proudly serve clients in Kansas City, Missouri, and throughout Johnson County and Jackson County.
What Constitutes a Contractual Obligation?
Agreements that you and your business enter into can come about through a variety of avenues. You can just “handshake” your agreement with another person or entity, resulting in an oral contract, or you can put it in writing, or what is called an express contract.
It’s possible that an existing relationship can become contractually obligating through implied conduct. The two of you have done it so naturally and frequently that it has taken on an “implied” contractual obligation.
Different legal sources and scholars define the elements of a valid contract by using a number of components that must be present to make the agreement legally binding. Perhaps the six most frequently cited elements are:
OFFER: The first step is that someone or some entity must approach another person or entity with an offer. You provide 200 widgets a month on the first day and I’ll pay you X dollars, for example.
ACCEPTANCE: The other party agrees to the terms or negotiates new terms acceptable to both sides.
AWARENESS: There must be no delusion or fraud involved in the agreement. Likewise, one party cannot be under duress or threat to sign into the agreement. This part is also often called “meeting of the minds.”
CONSIDERATION: This is really an extension or adjunct to the offer itself. It relates to the two parties’ exchanging something of value, for instance, widgets for dollars, though the consideration does not have to be in money. Consideration can be anything of value that both parties agree to.
CAPACITY: Both parties must be of legal age to enter into the agreement, and they must be of sound physical and mental condition to do so. One party cannot, for instance, be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or the agreement will not be binding.
LEGALITY: The contractual agreement must also not violate any existing state, federal, or local laws. For instance, you cannot enter into a legally binding contract to sell morphine on the streets, but even subtler legal distinctions may exist on otherwise seemingly fine agreements. Check the law.
These elements must be present in any contractual agreement for it to be legally binding, no matter how you label the individual components.
Why Establishing Valid Contracts Is Essential
Even if you run a small store on Main Street, you will no doubt rely on agreements with others to make your enterprise prosper. You will no doubt need suppliers, vendors, professional service providers (tax and accounting), and of course, customers and employees to make your business thrive. In one way or another, you will find yourself involved in contractual obligations.
That’s why it’s essential from the beginning that these contracts be spelled out as concretely and comprehensively as possible. The last thing you want is a legal dispute over a broken contract. Avoid those handshake agreements and put everything in writing.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may find yourself involved in contracts on many fronts. There could be licensing or franchising fees and agreements. There can also be advertising and marketing agreements. Even the goods or services you provide can fall under established warranty or sale-of-goods statutes. Employees also have rights protected by state and federal law that, though often lacking a signed agreement, are nonetheless binding.
You need to seek legal counsel and guidance on every step you take in the formation and operation of your enterprise, or you may find yourself on the wrong end of a legal dispute. Get everything in writing, and make sure a business law attorney has reviewed and approved everything.
Breach of Contract: Avoid the Pitfalls of an Ambiguous Agreement
What you want to avoid is a breach of contract. While perhaps most agreements will go forward without a hitch, sometimes matters can take a wrong turn. Your widget supplier, for instance, may have to shut down due to a strike by employees or because an overseas supplier of parts suddenly quit sending those parts. Then, what do you do? Your business could be on the line.
If you have everything spelled out in a written document, you have recourse to take matters to court and enforce the bargain, or at least to receive compensation for any losses you’ve suffered. A handshake, or oral, agreement can be argued back and forth, with each side making countervailing assertions, but if the agreement exists in clear and unmistakable writing, legal action rests on much firmer legal ground.
Business Contracts Attorney Serving Overland Park, Kansas
For all your business-based contract questions and answers in or around Overland Park, Kansas, or over the border in Missouri, contact the Coppaken Law Firm. We will discuss your needs and goals and help you create binding contracts that further your business interests and protect your rights as a business owner. Reach out immediately.