Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Lawyer's Edge
by Bruce L. Woodbury, Esq.
Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish

Let's Make A Deal
All too often clients, who did not obtain legal assistance before agreeing to a contract, will seek my help to either enforce or avoid the contract when a dispute occurs. Unfortunately, the consequences of not having professional advice before signing an agreement can be extremely significant.

Written contracts are essential for any important transaction. The specific language of the contract determines what both sides will be required to do. It also spells out what happens if either party fails to keep his or her part of the deal.

Contracts are sometimes lengthy and complicated because they are intended to cover all relevant aspects of the transaction. An effort can be made to simplify an agreement, but this should not be at the expense of providing essential details necessary for your protection. Remember that the purpose of a contract is to clearly define what the agreement is and to protect you if things don’t work out.

If the other party drafts the contract and refuses to negotiate its provisions, you can be certain that it is not in your best interests. However, if you insist on negotiating even a pre-printed “standard” form agreement, you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Oral contracts can be legal and binding (not if real estate or certain other matters are involved), but entering into such unwritten contracts is almost always unwise. The person seeking to enforce the agreement has the burden of proof, and the necessary evidence is often inadequate, conflicting or inadmissible in court. What happens if the other party dies, and his heirs refuse to recognize the handshake deal?

If any substantial amount of money or anything else that is truly important to you is involved, you should obtain the assistance of an experienced lawyer in drafting a solid written contract.

Bruce L. Woodbury is an attorney with the law firm of Jolley, Urga, Wirth, Woodbury & Standish. The firm has offices in Boulder City and Las Vegas. To contact Bruce, visit his website at

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