Take Care: Headings Can Affect Contract Interpretation

As a general practice, section headings should be used to identify the general subject matter of each contract provision, making it easier for the reader. Section headings are very useful for ease of reference. They enable the reader to skim an agreement when searching for a particular provision or group of provisions. But headings can be a trap for the unwary—courts have used them to interpret the parties’ intent when a provision is ambiguous or misleading. Here’s how to protect yourself from the unintended consequences of headings. Continue reading

Checklist for Disputes Over a Neighbor’s Home Business

home businesses may cause disputes with neighborsA home may be a person’s castle, but it can’t always be his or her office. More home-based businesses (including short-term rentals and home food production) means more neighbor disputes. Here’s a look at what constitutes a home business and a checklist to review whenever you’re asked to consider a dispute involving one. Continue reading

How to Provide for Extending a Contract Term

agreement includes extension provisionMany contracts that have a fixed term provide for extending or renewing that term. Before you draft an extension clause, consider the common issues involved and review our sample language. Continue reading

Don’t Leave It to a Court to Figure Out Contract Conditions

Parties often need to include conditions to the performance obligations of one or both parties in a contract. Common examples include conditions requiring that one party give consent before the other party’s rights may be exercised (e.g., “Tenant may not assign the lease without Landlord’s consent”) or that one party be “satisfied” with a product or performance before payment or other action is due (e.g., “Publisher will market Author’s text if Publisher is satisfied with its content”). But contract drafters should be wary—these conditions can be a source of much litigation.

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Know These Interpretation Principles Before You Draft a Contract

contract document drafted by attorney with interpretation principles in mindWhen a contract dispute arises, there may be differing interpretations of the contract terms. A court asked to construe the disputed terms will look to statutory principles. But don’t wait for a dispute to learn these principles—be aware of them when drafting an agreement to ensure that they won’t counteract your client’s intent.  Continue reading

Do Adult Children Have a Duty to Support Their Parents?

multi-generational family photoMost people wouldn’t think twice before helping their parents financially. In fact, partially due to baby boomers’ inadequate retirement planning, 20 percent of surveyed millennials provide financial support to their parents. As Buck Wargo explains in his blog post, most millennials give this help gladly. But they may also be legally required to do so. Continue reading

5 Things to Know Before You Handle an Administrative Action

Many attorneys are unfamiliar with the forum when they find themselves involved in an administrative action. Don’t worry—these tips will help. Continue reading

What to Do After Forming a Corporation: Timing and Action Table

checklist for tasks to do after forming a corporationThere are many operational requirements that must be handled when starting business as a California corporation. And some of these requirements have strict timing deadlines. Attorneys and clients should review these requirements and divvy up responsibilities for them. Use this handy table for quick reference of required actions and their timing. Continue reading

Do Both Spouses Need to Sign Contracts?

contract with pen for signaturesWhen one spouse is entering into a contract, is it legally required that the other spouse also sign it? And what would be the ramifications if the other spouse didn’t? Continue reading

The Pros and Cons of Using Independent Contractors

considering the pros and cons of using indepedent contractors instead of employeesWhen your client decides to use independent contractors instead of employees, you need to go over the advantages and disadvantages of choosing the independent contractor route. Continue reading