A contract template is a blank, standard form that can be filled in with information and used as a contract. They are often used in situations where the same agreement will be made over and over again, with very little information being changed. They are sometimes called standard contract forms and often employ "boiler-plate language"—terms and phrases that are repeated and used in many different contexts.
Contract templates can be very helpful at times. For instance, contract templates can:
- Save time and resources on creating new contracts each time
- Provide uniformity for transactions and deals
- Make it easier to keep accurate records of transactions
On the other hand, using the same contract form for multiple transactions can have its disadvantages. Some of these include:
- Lack of flexibility in terms of contract terms
- May sometimes not cover all the terms from a particular negotiation
- Newer clients might not understand some of the concepts and terms in the contract
Thus, contract templates are often more helpful for older clients who have a prior history of dealing with the other party. For newer claims, a new contract format may be required.
Yes, existing contracts can often be modified to change certain portions or terms of the contracts to reflect the new needs of the parties. This usually requires satisfaction of the same contract requirements for original contracts, including offer/acceptance, signing, witnessing, etc.
On the other hand, some contracts contain no-modification clauses. These are instructions in the contract that prohibit modification in the future, or limit the way that a modification can occur. These can prevent the contract from being modified if all parties agree to the clause.
Working with contract templates has its advantages and disadvantages. You may wish to hire a contract lawyer if you need help drafting or reviewing a contract. Your attorney can guide you through the process to inform you of what your rights are. Also, your lawyer can help you during trial if you need to file a lawsuit.