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Does a values agreement protect my business partnership?

Wherever you are in the life of a business partnership, understanding how each partner looks at a number of issues may affect your success immensely. Even if you're working with an idea that should be easy to make successful, conflicts within leadership can hamper a great idea from ever reaching its full potential. One of the most effective tools you can use to identify the priorities and perspectives within your partnership is a values agreement.

A values agreement is not necessarily a legal document, but the way you draft it and implement it may greatly impact a number of your future legal concerns. To create a values agreement, you and your partners should discuss what you expect out of each other and how to hold each other accountable. Values agreements identify ethical obligations and liberties between partners, and help you to recognize significant differences of perspective so that they are useful rather than destructive. You should also make it a priority to discuss each partner's positions on business strategies. Aligning your understandings of each other helps you avoid many conflicts before they have an opportunity to arise.

A values agreement does not offer much in the way of enforceable legal protection, because it is more a testament to your mutual priorities than it is a contract with legal authority. However, the depth of understanding that you and your partners may develop through drafting the documents can help you avoid conflicts in both your personal and business relationships. Should more complicated conflicts arise, an attorney can help you navigate them. An experienced business law attorney can help you fairly address any substantial conflicts or concerns within your partnership.

Source: Forbes, "How To Avoid A Partnership Dispute," Shane Robinson, accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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