What’s an Executed Contract, and How Do You Create One?

November 20, 2023 • Contract Management • 6 minutes

Ever found yourself puzzled by the term “executed contract” while navigating the maze of contract management? You’re not alone! Understanding what an executed contract is, and how to properly create one, is crucial across a wide range of industries.

In this article, we’ll break down everything from what an executed contract means to how it fits into the broader contract lifecycle. Let’s dive in!

What is an executed contract?

An executed contract is an agreement that has been fully signed and agreed upon by all parties involved. In the realm of contract management, this means that the terms of the contract have been accepted and both parties are legally bound to fulfill their obligations. When parties sign an executed agreement, it signifies that they are committed to the terms laid out in the document.

What is a fully executed contract?

A fully executed contract is an agreement where all parties have not only signed the contract but have also performed their required duties. This is different from a partially executed contract, where some terms may still be pending or some parties have yet to fulfill their obligations.

What’s the difference between an executed contract and an executory contract?

The difference between an executed contract and an executory contract lies in the fulfillment of obligations. In an executed contract, all terms have been met by all parties. In an executory contract, some terms or conditions are yet to be fulfilled. Knowing the difference helps you understand the state of obligations and responsibilities within the contract.

What’s the difference between an execution date vs. an effective date?

The execution date is the day when the contract is signed by all parties involved. The effective date, on the other hand, is when the terms of the contract actually come into play. Both dates are crucial as they dictate when the contract is signed and when the parties are legally bound to start performing their duties.

What factors are important to consider before executing a contract?

Before you properly execute a contract, it’s worth considering several key factors to ensure that you’re making a well-informed decision. Here’s what to look out for.

  • Legal obligations: Understanding the legal landscape surrounding your contract is crucial. Are there any laws or regulations that could impact the agreement? Make sure you’re aware of any legal obligations you’re taking on, as well as the legal framework that governs the contract. If you’re unsure, consult with a legal advisor.
  • Terms and conditions: You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it bears repeating: read the fine print! Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions you’re agreeing to. Look out for any contract clauses that seem unfair or that you don’t understand. If something seems off, seek clarification or negotiate changes.
  • Time sensitivity: Is the contract time-sensitive? Are there deadlines for performance, or penalties for delays? Being aware of the timeline can help you plan better and allocate resources more efficiently. Make sure you’re comfortable with the timeframes laid out in the contract before you sign.

By giving these factors the attention they deserve, you’ll be better prepared to execute a contract that serves your interests and stands up to legal scrutiny.

How to execute a contract

Creating a legally binding contract isn’t just about scribbling your signature at the bottom of a page. It’s a process that requires attention to detail and due diligence. Here’s a step-by-step guide to executing a contract properly.

  1. Review the terms of the contract carefully. Before you even think about signing, make sure you understand every clause, term, and condition in the contract. This is the time to negotiate any points of contention. If necessary, consult with legal advisors to ensure that you’re not agreeing to unfavorable terms.
  2. Confirm the person signing has the authority to do so. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how often contracts are nullified because the person who signed them didn’t have the legal authority to do so. Make sure that the person signing the contract has the proper authorization to bind the party to its terms.
  3. Use contract management software to streamline the execution process. If you’re dealing with multiple contracts or complex terms, contract management software can be a lifesaver. A CLM platform can help you automate deadlines for renewal, store documents securely, and even automate some of the more time-consuming aspects of cloud contract management.
  4. Use an electronic signature or physically sign the document. Depending on the nature of the contract and the requirements of the parties involved, you can either use an electronic signature or go old-school with a wet ink signature. Electronic signatures are legally binding in most cases, are generally faster, and can be applied remotely – but make sure e-signing is legally acceptable for your specific contract. The easiest way to get e-signatures on contracts is with a contract automation tool.
  5. Record the execution date. The execution date is the day when all parties have signed the contract. It’s crucial to record this date as it often marks the beginning of your legal obligations under the contract. Make sure this date is clearly stated in the contract and agreed upon by all parties involved.

By following these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to executing contracts that are not only legally binding but also clear and fair for all parties involved.

When does execution happen in the contract lifecycle?

Execution happens at the point in the contract lifecycle when all parties have reviewed, agreed upon, and signed the contract. It’s the stage where the contract moves from being a draft to a legally binding document.

What happens after executing a contract?

After executing a contract, the following steps usually happen next:

  • Distributing copies to all parties involved
  • Filing the contract in a secure location
  • Notifying stakeholders of the contract’s status
  • Implementing the terms as agreed upon
  • Monitoring compliance with legal obligations
  • Making timely payments as specified
  • Preparing for the closeout of the contract

Depending on how well the contract is managed, this could lead to a smoothly fulfilled agreement or, potentially, an unenforceable contract. That’s why it’s crucial to implement the terms as they’ve been agreed upon, and remain in contractual compliance with all your obligations.

Understanding executed contracts will help you navigate many twists and turns in the world of contract management. Most importantly, proper execution can save you time and prevent future legal issues, making your life a whole lot easier. So now, the next time you’re about to sign on the dotted line, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting into.

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