How to Write an Addendum to a Contract

Instructor: Deona Cureton

I have taught honors English in high school, have an BA in Political Science and English, Master's in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, and completing my PhD in Public Administration & Policy with a concentration in Law & Public Policy

To modify aspects of a contract, an addendum is added to ensure all parties are in agreeance with the content. But what is an addendum exactly? In this lesson, you will learn what an addendum to a contract is, how to create an addendum, how to ensure the addendum is legal, and how to ensure that the addendum can be enforced.

CONGRATS! You've just graduated college and been offered a full-time, salaried position with the company you've been interning with. Your supervisor has just discussed your salary, bonuses, and other negotiable aspects of the inner-workings of your contract. You both read through the contract and find a few things that you are not in agreement with. How do you make changes to this contract so that they are legal and will be approved by your supervisor? Creating an addendum will allow you to insert items or information into your contract so that all parties associated with the contract will be on one accord.

Addendum: What is it?

An addendum to a contract is an additional document that is added to a pre-existing contract to modify the terms of the contract. If written correctly, the intent of the addendum is to empower the original contract in all of its aspects and only modifying the parts of the contract written in the addendum. Modifying a contract without creating a separate document is an amendment and not an addendum.

Addendum: Creating

The following steps will assist you in creating an addendum to a contract:

1) Use a writing font that is consistent with the original contract so the two documents are aesthetically similar. This can be completed by a) using the same formatting, margins, and font/font size, b) reference the original contract's date, and c) when titling the addendum, connect it to the contract but make sure it states that it is an addendum. For example, ''Addendum to June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract''

2) Be specific in naming all parties associated with the contract. For example, ''The parties associated with the June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract Addendum are Jane Doe (employee) and John Hancock (employer).''

3) Specify the date that the addendum goes into effect; make sure it is stated in a way that is consistent with the original contract. For example, ''This addendum shall be effective as of June 21, 2017.''

4) Be specific in listing the terms/parts of the original contract that the addendum is changing, making sure that you are being specific in describing all modifications by using fonts of strike-through, bold, etc. For example, ''Item III of the June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract Addendum should be modified to include the bold text of vacation time should be flexible and added to bonus leave when promoted.'' Also, attach the original contract to the new addendum and articulate in your addendum that this step is completed. This ensures that there is a clear distinction between which one is the contract and which one is the addendum. For example, ''The June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract is attached to this addendum for referencing purposes.''

5) Include a signature block, which is a blank space for the individual writing the addendum to put the date the addendum will be implemented. Include lines for all parties involved to sign their names beside their typed or printed name. For example, ''The June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract Addendum will be executed on June 21, 2017 between Jane Doe (employee) and John Hancock (employer).

__________ (Date) Jane Doe (employee) __________

__________ (Date) John Hancock (employer) __________

6) Include a notary block, which is a blank space for a notary to notarize (stamp/sign) that the signature and date signed by all parties is legitimate. For example, ''The June 19, 2017 New Employee Contract Addendum will be executed on June 21, 2017 between Jane Doe (employee) and John Hancock (employer).

_______(Date) Jane Doe (employee) __________ Notary Stamp __________

_______(Date) John Hancock (employer) ________ Notary Stamp __________

Addendum: Legal

Now that the addendum is created, it's necessary to ensure that the addendum is legal. To ensure the legality of your contract addendum, do the following:

1) Make sure your contract addendum is in compliance with your pre-existing contract's terms. For your addendum to be enforceable, it must comply with the terms of the existing contract. Therefore, it's essential to read all aspects of the pre-existing contract before creating an addendum.

Make sure the addendum complies with the previous terms and conditions of the contract.
Make sure the addendum complies with the previous terms & conditions of the contract.

2) Review the law(s) associated with the contract. Contracts such as employment agreements, renters' leases, business agreements, etc. are controlled by the common law of the state in which the agreement was made in. Under the conditions of most states' common law, an addendum to a contract is only enforceable if an asset of value (i.e. consideration) is involved in an exchange.

3) Consult with a licensed attorney. If you believe you created everything in an accurate manner but still are not quite sure if it is written correctly, contact an attorney to ensure that your contract addendum complies with all pre-existing terms.

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