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The power of a notary over contract disputes

Avoiding contract disputes is an important thing for any business or business owner. Contract disputes can become very expensive and result in loss of funds, brand standing and copious amounts of time. One of the simplest ways to avoid some contract disputes is to ensure all your contracts are signed in the presence of a notary.

Getting a document notarized simply means that a licensed person witnesses the signing and that they attest that the signing was legal. That means that a person who signs a contract in front of a notary will have a much harder time claiming that they did not sign the contract than if they just signed it in front of you. It sounds crazy, but this does happen -- if a contract ends up casting someone in a negative position, they might claim that they didn't sign it and would have no reason to sign it.

Having a notary witness the signing also means that the other person is less likely to successfully claim they were coerced into signing the document. The notary can testify about the person's seeming mental state when they signed the document.

Obviously, not every contract dispute can be headed off with a simple notary, which is why it's a good idea to work ahead of time with an experienced business law attorney to draft strong contracts and review negotiations to ensure you are well protected. A good contract offers something for both parties and puts into place protections to ensure both parties are most likely to get what they want. In the event a contract goes south, working with a lawyer as soon as possible is often the best way to bring the situation back into your favor.

Source: Entrepreneur, "Avoiding Contract Disputes," Chris Kelleher, accessed Nov. 25, 2016

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