Put it in writing!!!

Put it in writing!!!

That is my number one piece of legal advice for anyone.  So often situations come down to, “he told me this” or “she said she would do that”.  This is applicable to custody situations, contract situations and just about anything that involves two people.  Sometimes the dispute arises from a genuine misunderstanding or sometimes one party is trying to take advantage of the other. In either case you can protect yourself by simply writing down the agreement at the time of the transaction.  Ideally  the agreement will be signed by both parties and notarized.  If you can’t get the other party to agree to that, at a minimum you write down what the agreement was when it happens.  However, if you can’t get a party to agree to put something in writing and sign it, that is a pretty good sign that there will be trouble ahead.

Here is an example from my personal life.  My husband and I recently bought a used car.  The car we wanted was located several hours away.  I drove to go get it.  When I arrived, the seller did not have the title in hand.  He said he was getting it in the mail and he would have it within 3o days.  After verifying through a car fax that the vehicle was legitimate, I went ahead with the purchase.  However, I hand wrote a line in the contract which simply said, “If buyer does not receive a clean title within 30 days of the sale she may return the vehicle for a full refund of the purchase price.”  Then I signed it, the seller signed it, and I made a copy for me to keep.  It’s not a 100% guarantee if something goes wrong, but I am much better protected than if I was relying on a verbal agreement about the title.

Putting things in writing is a good habit to get into whether you are dealing with friends, family or strangers.  Taking the extra few minutes to write something down can save you a great deal of pain and money in the long run.

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