Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Importance of notarizing documents to avoid contract disputes

New York business owners probably put a lot of time and effort into starting up their businesses and ensuring their paperwork is correct in order to avoid contract disputes. However, the unfortunate truth of the matter is that no matter how hard one tries, it is highly likely that they will be involved in a contract dispute at least once and litigation may result from the dispute.

However, there is one relatively simple way to minimize the number of disputes that land a person in court and that is having documents notarized. Where previously it was mandatory to have most contracts notarized, now the law has relaxed some and only a few contracts, such as real estate deeds, are required to be notarized. But notarizing a document goes a long way in ensuring its validity and authenticity in court.

As incredible as it sounds, some people may deny signing a contract in court during a contract dispute, especially if they want to avoid the contract. If this happens, it may be very difficult to prove in court that the person did actually sign the contract. But if the contract is notarized, then most states and all federal courts believe in the authenticity of the document and the legal requirement of providing authentication in court is waived. In addition to this, the official who notarized the document can be called to court as a witness and testify that he saw the parties of the contract sign the document.

However, not all contract disputes can be resolved this easily and may involve more complex legal matters. In those situations, it may be possible to consult an experienced attorney who could guide one through the legalities so that they can continue to expand their business.

Source: Entrepreneur, "Avoiding contract disputes," Chris Kelleher, Accessed March 30, 2014

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