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4 contracts that need legal assistance

A good contract is designed to keep you out of lawsuits -- not put you right in the middle of one. However, some contracts can be more troublesome than others.

If you're an entrepreneur who is just getting your fledgling business off the ground, these are the contracts to be wary about signing without experienced legal advice:

1. Partnership agreements

All too often, partnership agreements are written while everything is new and exciting -- and everyone gets along. It's hard to plan for a breakup or some other kind of disaster when you can't even picture not working with each other or being friends. Unfortunately, that's exactly what needs to be done when you think ahead and make contingency plans for the future.

2. Loan agreements

Too many loan agreements are signed blindly -- and the process of getting a loan seems to encourage it. (Your loan papers are probably incomprehensible to ordinary human beings, anyhow.) But someone with more experience will know that there are areas in the agreement that can be negotiated -- and will likely know what is important to insist upon and what can be negotiable in any given agreement.

3. Commercial leases

You have to have someplace to hold your business, right? That usually means finding someplace to rent for a while. If you've never signed a commercial lease before, there's a lot of terminology with which you're likely unfamiliar. Since you don't have the same protections that a residential renter has, it pays to be careful.

4. Construction contracts

Construction contracts are endlessly varied -- and endlessly dangerous. One wrong move, and you could be on the hook for anything a subcontractor or contractor fails to finish. It's never wise to walk into negotiations for construction without being prepared.

Don't set yourself or your business up for failure. If you're about to enter contract negotiations, contacting us before you sign can save you from an expensive, frustrating legal dispute.

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