There is an old saying in the West that says that if the preacher talks too much about stealing, better sneak out a little early, race home and lock the cellar!
The same holds for the good old boy that says, Ah, we don’t need to have a contract. You can trust me. The most innocent reasons for putting something in writing are that frankly each of us forgets, changes our minds or some folk just plain lie!
Robert Ringer famously said in the 70’s, If you have it in writing, you have a prayer. If you don’t have it in writing you just have air! Sadly, old Bobby was right more times than wrong.
A Contract is a meeting of the minds. When two people finally have that, it means that they think the same thing, or at least at that moment in time they think that they think the same thought! So a good thought is to write that good thought down in black and white so both parties can look at it. When you both see it in those bold letters and it is really what you both were thinking, then you really do have a contract. The final touch is when each of you put your John Hancock’s on the dotted line.
Then in the future when your partner decides that he doesn’t remember it the way you do, each of you can pull out that paper and refer to it to refresh your aging memories. Of course, you keep a copy in your 40-ton vault just in case your partner still doesn’t agree ‘cuz that’s what courts are for! Besides, we want to fall into the status quo.
The US has 5% of the world’s population, 95% of the world’s attorneys and 98% of the world’s litigation. And if you were to sneak a peak at the stats, I’m sure we’d find that a goodly part of that is split between New York and California! (quote me and I’ll deny it!) So don’t worry, sue him. You’ll be right at home in good company.
Most all of us want to think the other person is honest and wants the best, or at least is a straight shooter, (the exception, of course, is if you are in the crosshairs of his very large rifle scope!). But thinking that someone thinks what we do and will continue thinking that way is rather dicey.
Ever played that game where you all sit in a big circle and you whisper something in the person’s ear to your right. That person in turn repeats what he thought he heard to the person on her right, and so on around the circle. The rule is that no one can repeat themselves. Each one has to repeat once what he thought he or she heard.
When the last person repeats what he heard to you and you tell the group the two statements the group usually rolls around in laughter! Remember that game? Of course you do! It’s crazy and that’s why we have courts! That’s why we have everything worth remembering exactly put down in writing and witnessed.
Some of the kindest, sweetest people I have ever known have said, OK, great I’ll have my attorney draw up an agreement. Actually it was a compliment. Those kind of people are unique and usually those contracts gather dust in my active files.
It’s the oily guy with the new porcelain smile and his $3,000 suit paid for by his last victim that says, Ah we don’t need to have a contract. You can trust me…NOW That’s when I sneak out early, race home and lock the cellar!