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What is a Contract Amendment?
Amending the contract does not mean that you will disregard the whole contract, it is a way of addressing and modifying certain clauses in your contract. It is a means of putting in additional terms or omitting a wrongful element of the contract. A contract amendment can also be referred to as contract modification or contract revision.
An amendment is an agreed change in the terms and condition of an existing contract. Both parties should be aware and must affix their signature in this document. The client and the contractor must both agree in order to legalize this document. This is a legally binding agreement for both parties.
Key Elements Included in a Contract Amendment
The Different Methods in Amending a Contract
There are three main methods in making changes to a contract agreement. They are:
Strikethroughs and redlines
This method can also be referred to as direct alterations on the contract. This is an informal way but it is considered the easiest and effective as well. Basically, in this method you just have to cross out the different terms that are to be modified or no longer applicable with the use of a line and then write the terms that are added or changed. To make it clear you may also underline the new terms that were added.
Replacing a Clause in Its Entirety
This means that the clause as a whole will be replaced. Unlike the first method, by the means of this method you will be removing an entire clause. It will then be stated what clause is removed and then in turn provide the new clause that will stand in the position of the deleted clause. This is a clearer way of amending a contract. In this method you can make use of a separate and new document to present it with clarity. This method is also easy to comprehend for both the client and the contractor.
Describing the amendment
With this method you will also make use of a new and separate document. This is often considered as the hardest to read and comprehend. However, it is also considered as the most formal method of amending a contract. In this method you will need to specifically identify the terms or clause that is in need of modification. After identifying the terms or clause in the original contract, thoroughly give a description of the terms that will be added.
No matter what method you will use, it is important to understand that before making any modification or changes, both parties should talk things through and both should agree to the amending of the contract. Both the client and the company should affix their signature on the document along with the date of signing.
Step by Step Process in Creating a Contract Amendment
Step 1: Select a Format or a Template
The first step in creating an effective and detailed contract amendment is to select a template. This will allow the user to easily and quickly create a contract. These templates are also flexible and will be able to cater to the needs and wants of the user.
Step 2: Go over the Original Document
The main purpose of amending a contract is to make necessary changes to the existing contract agreement. It is important that the changes that are being made is in direct correlation with the existing contract. The original contract will be the point of reference. It is essential that a contract amendment will still remain some of the clauses in the original contract and will only make modifications to certain clauses and terms. Review the original document first before making any changes.
Step 3: Identify and State the Changes
The next step would be to identify which of the terms and conditions state on the original contract are no longer up and running. Identify also if the terms or clauses included in the existing contract are still effective and applicable. Upon identifying these, devise or come up with a fresh and new point of view on how you will address the issue. Clearly identify and thoroughly describe the amendments that are to be made. It is important to state with clarity the past and new terms or clauses. Review the different methods of amending a contract and make use of these particular approaches.
However, it is recommended for easier comprehension to make use of a new and separate document. By utilizing this method the modifications made in the contract will be more clear and understandable. Also, in creating a new document specify which sections or clauses from the original document are you making a change. Locating the section is not enough, it is also necessary to identify the statement that is to be replaced. After identifying what is in need of changing, state the new proposed policy, terms or clauses that are to be implemented and observed.
Step 4: Proofread the Document
This is a legally binding contract agreement. It is important to review and evaluate all the content especially the key components of the contract. It is only natural that a document of this significant importance is a hundred percent accurate when it comes to spelling and grammar. Make sure that there are no errors in your contract.
Step 5: Finalize the Document
The last step would be to finalize the document. There should be a concluding paragraph or statement. This would state that both the client and the company are in agreement and that both parties have read and fully understood the changes that are to be made. In order for the document to be acknowledged and be taken into account and effect, it must be signed by both parties. Also indicate the date that the revised contract will be implemented.
In some cases, both parties would want to hire a lawyer in order to make sure that the new proposed terms and conditions stated in the contract would not have any legal issues and consequences. This will guarantee that the changes made are still in compliance with the local or state law. You may also make use of a consulting contract in order to hire lawyers or attorneys.
What is the Difference between Contract Amendment and Contract Addendum?
More often than not, most people tend to interchange a contract amendment and a contract addendum. This is a serious and dangerous mistake as there is a significant worth of difference between these two terms. Firstly, a contract addendum is an attachment to the existing contract with the main purpose of putting in additional terms and conditions. It does not have the intention of changing the original contract for the reason that the terms and conditions in that contract are up and running and they are still effective.
It means that the existing contract is still applicable. On the other hand, a contract amendment is an attachment to the existing contract with the main purpose of changing a particular term or clause in the said document. Amending a contract means that in order to add, delete or revise the contract, you will be first omitting an existing clause or term. This type of contract will focus on removing a term and changing it in order to cope up with the changes in the industry or to be able to step up to the standards. This means that the terms and conditions stated in the existing contract are no longer applicable and effective.
What Are the Most Common Types of Breaches in a Contract?
A minor breach of contract
This can also be referred to as a partial breach. Usually, this has a small amount of effect on the total contract and this can be fixed. This happens when a contractor will make use of a different material or supply than the ones stated in the actual contract. In this case, a client may not ask for fees or penalties for the damages that are done.
A material breach of contract
This type of breach in contract will have major consequences as this mostly affects the crucial aspect of the contract or project. This usually occurs when a contractor will make use of substandard materials even though the contract says otherwise. In general, this happens when one side of the contract will receive less benefits than what is stated in the contract. In this case, because one party has clearly violated the contract, the other party may then ask for payment for the damages that are incurred.
A fundamental breach of contract
This is a severe type of breach in the contract. This happens when one side of the party totally ignores his or her roles and responsibilities as stated in the contract. For example, this usually occurs when a contractor or a company will neglect the scope of work and knowingly leave the premises or the construction site. In this instance, a client or the other side of the party may terminate the contract immediately as well as sue for damage and penalty fees.
An anticipatory breach of contract
This is a type of breach where one party will notify the other party of the breach that is about to happen. This means that one side of the party will notify the other side that he or she is not capable of performing the said roles and responsibilities stated in the contract. In this instance, the other side may also file for damage fees and terminate the contract as soon as possible.
When to make use of contract amendment?
The main reason that a contract is amended is that the processes are no longer effective and able to keep up with the fast pace of the industry or business. In this case, both parties opt to review and revise the contract in order to cope up with the standards. This is also utilized when one party cannot keep up with his or her roles and responsibility.
However, an often mistake is using this kind of document even when the original contract has not been signed yet. Remember that a contract amendment is only used once the original contract is already signed and implemented.
A contract amendment is an attachment to your original contract agreement. This is a way of fixing and changing the different terms and clauses in the existing contract that are no longer applicable and effective. This may also be a means of resolving disputes between the two parties. This may also be considered as a legally binding agreement between both parties. Make use of the pieces of information and available templates above in order to help and guide you in making contract amendments. These templates will make the process easier and faster.