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Get it in Writing

Three times in life where a handshake, and a contract from your lawyer, is needed.


Beginnings are always exciting times.

From new business ventures to remodeling your dream home, it’s easy to get swept away by the hope of what tomorrow might bring.

To keep your dreams from turning into nightmare situations, the team at Whitehurst, Blackburn and Warren says there are three situations where a written agreement between the parties is a must.

Long-term Partnerships

If the objective is to have the same caretaker for over one year, an employment contract should be drafted outlining responsibilities and duties.

“Anything over a year is considered long-term,” explained Joe Cargile, partner at WBW. “Contracts that cannot be performed within one year’s time are not only legally required, but often helpful. It sets the tone for what’s to come. Ideally this partnership will continue on, and communication is a big part of making that successful. Get the awkward conversations out of the way early and have a good understanding of what is expected going forward, then put it in writing.”

Real Estate Transactions Any agreement to sell a piece of real estate or to acquire an interest in real property requires legal documentation – even in the form of a gift or beneficiary. Property law is something WBW handles on a daily basis, with the help of in-office real estate professionals like Linda Cauley. “It’s our job to communicate between all of the parties involved, so we can make any real estate transaction that comes to us as smooth as possible,” said Cauley.

Clients can make the mistake of leasing farmland or establishing an easement on a handshake alone. Without a written document that meets the elements of a contract, the agreement as to the piece of real estate may be unenforceable should one party back out.

Loans According to WBW, any time money is being loaned to a company or individual, both parties must memorialize that agreement in writing. If you’re obtaining a traditional loan or mortgage from a bank, this is a requirement. The bank will prepare the documents and they will make you sign them before disbursing the money. The same should take place when an individual is the financier. “I believe in the power of a handshake and a person’s word,” said Cargile. “With that being said, whenever the exchange of money, goods, or services is involved it’s very important to be clear. Get the amount and terms of repayment outlined from the beginning. Get both parties to sign on and then continue on with a solid working relationship.”


Contact us at (229) 226-2161 any regarding legal questions you might have.

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