Lawyers have negative stereotypes (some of it well-deserved). However, it is important that you see a lawyer before you enter into any agreement or transaction. This ensures you have identified risks and know what you are agreeing to. In our experience, contracts often contain hidden clauses that were never discussed or agreed between the parties prior to the contract being prepared.
For example, a client once asked us to review a shareholders’ agreement. Without any prior discussion between the parties, the opposing lawyer included a ‘drag-along’ clause that allowed their client to compel a sale of the majority shareholder’s shares at any time in the event that their client wanted to sell and do so on the same terms as their client’s sale.
Granting a first right of refusal to buy the shares to the other shareholder with an agreed (independent) process for determining the value of the shares was a much fairer and more appropriate way to deal with a shareholder who wanted to sell their shares in the particular circumstances.
You may incur some initial costs in consulting a lawyer; however, it could save you a lot of money, stress and heartache later if there was a dispute or, in the above example, the other party wants to force you to sell the business when you want (or need financially) to keep it.