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When it comes to drafting an aleatory contract, you are aiming to secure terms based on events that might never happen—events as unpredictable as tomorrow's weather. This uncertainty makes creating a solid, enforceable agreement a real challenge.

But what if you could handle them with confidence and ease?

Let’s explore how you can draft these tricky contracts more effectively, ensuring they work for you, not against you. With the right approach and our free template, you’ll turn this challenge into a strategic advantage.

What is an aleatory contract?

An aleatory contract is an agreement between parties that depends on an uncertain event. This type of contract takes effect only if that event happens. 

For example, if a specific uncertain event occurs, then the agreed-upon consequences or obligations kick in.

These contracts are unique because they hinge on a future possibility that may never materialize. Like, in an insurance policy, a common form of aleatory contract, you only make a payment if the uncertain event, like a car accident, actually happens.

Importance of aleatory contracts

For you as in-house legal counsel, it's crucial to understand the dynamics of aleatory contracts. They involve more than just drafting; they require you to anticipate potential challenges and their impacts on your organization.

Why this matters to you:

  • Risk and reward: Aleatory contracts are all about managing risk. This is especially important in industries like insurance and gambling, where the stakes can be very high
  • Legal standing: These contracts are usually enforceable as long as they meet the basic legal requirements of consent, legality, and consideration
Also read: Positioning Your Legal Team as Key Asset in Times of Uncertainty

Are aleatory contracts enforceable?

Aleatory contracts are enforceable when they meet the essential legal standards—consent from all parties involved, lawful purpose, and the presence of consideration.

The enforceability can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, depending on local laws and regulations. It's essential to understand these differences, especially if your company operates in multiple regions.

Types of aleatory contracts

Aleatory contracts come in various forms, each tailored to specific industries and needs. Here are some common types you might encounter in your role as in-house legal counsel:

#1 Insurance contracts

Payouts based on events: In insurance agreements, payouts are triggered by uncertain events such as accidents or health issues.

Example: A health insurance policy may require the insurer to pay for medical treatments only if the insured person gets sick.

#2 Gambling and betting agreements

Contingent gains: These contracts are straightforward—money changes hands based on the outcome of an uncertain event, typically a game or a race.

Example: In sports betting, a bettor's gain is contingent on whether their chosen team wins or loses, which is not predetermined.

#3 Conditional business deals

Milestone-dependent: These contracts are often used in business contexts where the completion of one phase of work triggers the next phase or payment.

Example: In construction, a contractor may only receive payment upon the completion of a specified stage of the building project, such as the foundation.

What to include in an aleatory contract

When drafting an aleatory contract, it’s important to cover all bases to ensure that the agreement is clear, enforceable, and effectively manages risk. Here’s what you need to include:

  • Conditions: Clearly define what conditions must be met for the contract to take effect
  • The uncertain event: Specify the event that must occur for the contract to be activated. This event should be clearly identified as uncertain or contingent
  • Obligations of parties: Detail what each party is obligated to do under the contract terms, particularly when the uncertain event occurs
  • Risk allocation: Designate which party bears the risk for specific events and under what circumstances
  • Adjustment clauses: Include provisions for adjusting obligations if the conditions under which the contract was signed change significantly
  • Termination options: Specify under what conditions the contract can be terminated, providing a clear exit strategy for both parties
  • Arbitration clauses: These can be crucial in resolving disputes without going to court, which can save time and money
  • Mediation requirements: Before escalating to legal action, mediation can be mandated to try to resolve disputes amicably
  • Specific remedies: Detail the remedies available if the contract's terms are not met, especially in scenarios where the uncertain event does not occur
Also read: Finding Common Ground: How to Resolve Contract Disputes

Download: Free aleatory contract template

We’re providing a free template to help you draft your own aleatory contracts effectively. This template is designed to be a starting point, adaptable to various scenarios. 

Begin by reviewing the template to understand the structure and the clauses included. Customize the specific conditions, obligations, and terms to suit the particular needs of your agreement.

Download now

Use this template as a framework to ensure all necessary elements of an aleatory contract are covered. It’s crucial to adapt the clauses to reflect the true intent of the parties involved and the specifics of the underlying agreement.

Also read: How to Write an Investment Agreement? (+ Free Template)

Best practices to effectively draft and manage aleatory contracts

When it comes to aleatory contracts, precision and foresight are key. These contracts, by nature, are based on uncertain events, making them a bit more complex to manage. 

Here are some best practices you should follow to effectively draft and manage these agreements:

#1 Clarity and precision in defining the uncertain event

Achieving clarity and precision when defining the uncertain event in an aleatory contract is crucial. This specificity not only prevents misunderstandings but also strengthens the enforceability of the contract.

Define the event with precision

  • Use specific language: Instead of vague terms, use specific descriptions that clearly outline what constitutes the triggering event. For example, rather than stating “in case of severe weather,” specify “if a Category 3 or higher hurricane directly hits Location X”
  • Include quantifiable measures: Where possible, include numbers or measurable standards. For instance, an insurance contract might payout “if the insured party incurs more than $20,000 in medical expenses due to a single accident”

Clearly outline the scope and conditions

  • Detail the scope: Clearly define the boundaries within which the event applies. For a business interruption insurance contract, you could specify that the coverage is applicable only if business operations are halted for more than 72 consecutive hours
  • Specify conditions: Detail any conditions under which the uncertain event impacts the contract. For instance, a performance bonus might be contingent on achieving sales targets “provided that all sales are made at full price, without discounts or chargebacks”
Also read: 10 Tips to Maintain Clear Contract Language

#2 Regular reviews and updates in response to changing laws and circumstances

Maintaining the relevance and compliance of your aleatory contracts requires an ongoing commitment to regular reviews and adaptability. Here's how you can keep your contracts up-to-date and responsive to changes:

Stay updated

  • Schedule regular reviews: Establish a routine schedule to review all aleatory contracts. Depending on the nature of the contract and the industry, reviews might be necessary annually, biannually, or even quarterly. This ensures that any changes in the legal environment or in the operational circumstances of your business are reflected in your contracts

  • Monitor legal changes: Keep an eye on changes in legislation that might affect contract terms. This can involve subscribing to legal updates, using legal research tools, or working closely with your legal department or external counsel

Be prepared to make changes

  • Preparedness to amend terms: Be ready to modify the terms of your aleatory contracts as new laws come into effect or as significant changes occur in the business environment. For instance, if new privacy regulations affect how customer data is handled, contracts with data-related triggers might need updates

  • Flexible clauses: Include flexible clauses in your contracts that allow for adjustments without needing a complete renegotiation. For example, you might include clauses that automatically adjust compensation based on changes in market conditions or regulatory landscapes

#3 Implement technology to ensure quick drafting and execution

Incorporating technology into the management of aleatory contracts can significantly streamline processes and enhance accuracy and compliance. SpotDraft, a leading CLM tool, is particularly effective for handling the complexities of aleatory contracts.

  • Automated templates: SpotDraft provides a range of automated templates that are specifically designed for various types of aleatory contracts. These templates are customizable to ensure that they meet the unique needs of your business while adhering to legal standards
  • Efficiency in drafting: You can create new contracts swiftly by adjusting pre-existing templates to new scenarios. This process eliminates the need to draft complex documents from scratch, saving time and reducing the likelihood of errors
  • Version tracking and compliance monitoring: The platform keeps track of different versions of each contract, making it simple to see revisions and updates at a glance. It also allows you to monitor key dates, such as renewal or review dates, and obligations, ensuring that nothing gets missed and that all contracts remain compliant with current laws
  • Notification system: Automated alerts remind you of upcoming deadlines or when conditions within the contract are due to be met. This feature is invaluable in managing the time-sensitive aspects of aleatory contracts, where missing a deadline could have significant repercussions

Interested in giving SpotDraft a try? Request a demo!

Also read: How to Ensure Contract Version Control

Take the next step in aleatory contract management

Now you know how important it is to handle aleatory contracts with care. With clear definitions, regular updates, and the right tools, you can manage these contracts confidently, even when the unexpected happens.

And SpotDraft can do much more for you. Explore SpotDraft’s comprehensive resources and tools to streamline your contract management from start to finish.

But till then, download the template and transform how you manage uncertainty in your contracts.

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