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Membership Agreements and Their Importance In The World of Business

Apr 17, 2008
A member is any individual who belongs to an association, organization, company, corporation, partnership, or firm. In a membership agreement, an understanding is reached between members and the group to which they want to belong regarding the terms of their membership. This is a legal agreement between the member and the group, and it is typically created in a couple of different contexts - by members of a limited liability corporation (LLC), or for more commonly used consumer-oriented memberships.

Generally a membership agreement covers a wide range of issues. It may cover eligibility, access, terms and conditions of membership. It will generally address liabilities and obligations, as well as the conditions under which the membership can be suspended or terminated. It may also refer to the group's right to change the terms of membership.

A membership agreement will generally state the effective date and the specific parties that it covers, specifying one as the "member." The enrollment process may be spelled out, and if there is a specific term during which the membership agreement will be in effect, that will also be stated. Any dues or costs associated with membership will also be specified in the membership agreement.

The membership agreement will also address how any confidential information will be handled, both during and at the termination of membership. Any exceptions or exclusions will be discussed as well as member warranties and representations. There may also be disclaimers and a limitation of liability.

A membership agreement should also spell out the nature of the services being provided for which the party must be a member. This is both a legal and business issue. Rights of Termination should cover both when and how the member might be terminated by the group and under what circumstances the member can choose to terminate membership and whether any fees or costs will be reimbursed. There may be specific obligations of the member that define what a member can and cannot do. There should also be specific member rights.

A privacy policy is generally an important part of any member agreement. Although privacy policies are not yet mandatory by law, having one may still prevent future legal concerns.

In today's society, membership agreements abound. These range from the membership agreement that you sign at the local video store to the many membership agreements found on Internet sites. While you may not think of yourself as a "member" of many groups, there is a membership agreement for your grocery club cards as well as your local gym. The truth is that our society is constantly spelling out the terms under which we can be involved in an activity or take advantage of a service. Understanding the importance and meaning of member agreements will go a long way towards enduring that we benefit from our many memberships without running into issues or concerns.

Imagine the embarrassment of accidentally violating the terms of your video store membership and being denied rentals. Imagine the frustration of accidentally violating the terms of your favorite Internet site's membership and being terminated. It is well worth the time it takes to actually read the terms of the many membership agreements that you sign or click on. It could ensure that you remain a happy member for years to come.
About the Author
Mark Warner is a Legal Research Analysts for RealDealDocs.com. RealDealDocs gives you insider access to millions of legal documents drafted by the top law firms in the US. To find Membership Agreements, click here. Free Search!
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