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Four reasons a contract may not be upheld

When drafting a contract, it's important to make sure it's going to stand if it winds up in court. Below are four reasons it may not be upheld that you want to watch out for.

First, the contract may not stand if it was made under duress. Both parties have to willingly enter into the contract for it to be binding. If one was forced, the court doesn't have to honor it.

Another issue is if the contract was made under fraudulent circumstances. If one party was intentionally tricked or misled, and signed the contract only as a result of that, it may not stand. One example of this could be intentionally hiding damage when selling a home, getting someone to sign a purchase contract by misleading him or her about the state of the home.

The age of the person signing also matters. He or she generally must be an adult. Even if a minor genuinely wants to sign a contract, it may not stand, especially if someone else -- the minor's parents, for instance -- do not agree with the contract.

Illegality can also come into play. A contract that instructs someone to break the law can be tossed out. The person will not have to honor the terms if he or she discovers that doing so would breach state or federal regulations.

Contracts are legally binding, but only when they are drafted and signed under the right set of circumstances. Always make sure you know how this process should play out and don't let an oversight render the contract void.

Source: FindLaw, "Will Your Contract Be Enforced Under the Law?," accessed May 17, 2017

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