One thing that no business owner enjoys is being taken to court because of a contract dispute. Not only do contract disputes place a stress on the business owner, they can also affect the financial situation of the company. The business owner will likely have to miss work and could have to hire an attorney if the dispute moves forward.
While there is no totally effective way to stop contract disputes from occurring, there is an inexpensive way to keep your company protected. When you sign a contract or agreement, have the signatures notarized by a notary public. This prevents a person from being able to deny that he or she signed the contract.
Not having your contract notarized is a big mistake, says Tim Reiniger, executive director of the National Notary Association in Pasadena, California. According to Reiniger, having a notary public witness a signature is a “powerful risk management tool to prevent fraud and identity theft.”
He says having a contract signature notarized is important for a few reasons. Chief among them is that under the Federal Rules of Evidence, a notarized document is considered “self-authenticating.” The same is true under the rules of evidence in effect in each state, although there are a few states that don’t follow this norm. When a document is self-authenticating, the signers of the contract do not need to testify in court to verify the authenticity of their signatures. That saves a lot of time and money. Having a document notarized is, says Reiniger, “a huge strategic advantage” in litigation.
Although private contracts do not require a notary signature, when Little Miss Notary notarizes a document, the signature is automatically authenticated in federal courts and some state courts, including California. By not having to authenticate the signature on a document, you can save your business a considerable amount of money and time.
Having documents notarized by Little Miss Notary is a simple precaution business owners can take to minimize the risk of a contract dispute. Still, there are likely going to be instances in which contract disputes and other legal issues occur. Being prepared when they do occur is vital for all business owners.
American Bar Association. “Say ‘Yes’ to Notaries” Tami Kamin-Meyer, 2008.
Entrepreneur, ” Avoiding Contract Disputes ” Chris Kelleher, Dec. 28, 2014