The Key to an Effective Letter of Intent. A letter of intent, or LOI, is a document that outlines an agreement between two or more parties before the agreement is finalized. A Letter of Intent resembles a written contract, but generally are not binding upon the parties. The purpose of an Letter of Intent may be to clarify the key points of a complex transaction for the convenience of the parties, to declare officially that the parties are currently negotiating, as in a merger or joint venture proposal, or to provide safeguards in case a deal collapses during negotiation
Kalogredis calls that basic fact that a document generally viewed by many as a casual and non_binding document, could atimes still become binding under certain unpredictable circumstances, "one of the traps in a letter of intent," and adds: "My advice [to parties contemplating having an LOI] is to proceed with caution before signing any such document. As a general rule (and there are exceptions), I urge the parties to go right to the final documents and "dot all of the I's and cross all of the T's," rather than go through this interim step of a letter of intent, which has many potential traps."