Handshake and Email Deals Can Destroy Your Business

I "borrow" this with wholehearted agreement from Mark J. Kohler, CPA, attorney at law
Author of Lawyers Are Liars -- The Truth About Protecting Our Assets

I see it almost every week.  New clients who have cut corners documenting their deal -- and who now face a whirlwind of legal fees and the possibility of losing their business or savings.  Yes, in the United States, binding contracts can be established with a verbal understanding or an email correspondence, but these are poor substitutes for a well-drafted contract.

So if you're going into business with a third party, especially a friend, family member, or neighbor, be wary of phrases like, "We don't need an attorney"..."Don't you trust me?" or "We have to hurry or we are going to miss out on this deal."  Instead, always have an attorney draft or review your contract, ensuring it includes:

Remember, negotiate like enemies and then operate as best friends.  Or put another way, hope for the best but prepare for the worst.