When Do Contracts Need To Be in Writing? - Purple Fox Legal

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When Do Contracts Need To Be in Writing?

By Purple Fox Legal

May 4, 2022

So, you’re ready to solidify an agreement with someone, and you want to ensure that it’s enforceable. But, did you know? There are some contracts and agreements that have to be documented in writing in order to be valid. A simple handshake won’t do the trick. Are you familiar with these contracts?

This article covers some of the most common business contracts that must take place in writing to be considered legally binding. Then, we will discuss some of the best ways to protect yourself when dealing with these agreements. This will help protect your business deals and investments. 

Why do Contracts Have to be in Writing?

Written contracts are incredibly important, especially in a business context. Not only does it help document all the facets and terms of your arrangement, but it can also act as a way to balance any disagreements that do arise. When the details are documented, the proof is in writing, and a whole new level of protection is offered.

It’s for all these reasons the Statute of Frauds even exists: to help provide documentation and protection. In fact, this compulsory statute actually requires certain types of contracts to be documented in writing before they’re ever considered valid. Is your contract one of them?

The Types of Contracts Required to be in Writing

Despite the popular belief that they’re not, many oral contracts are actually binding and enforceable. In the case of a disagreement though, navigating the specifics of these agreements can be a difficult battle of “he said, she said.” To help mitigate this, the Statute of Frauds outlines six different categories where contracts have to be documented in writing. 

The contracts that fall into these categories are:

  1. Contracts surrounding the sale, lease, or mortgage of real estate
  2. Contracts that cannot be performed within one year after the date the contract was formed
  3. Contracts involving surety or an agreement to pay someone else’s debt
  4. Contracts in consideration of marriage (i.e. prenuptial agreements)
  5. Contracts involving the sale of goods greater than $500

There is no real requirement for the way that a contract must be written, only that enough evidence of its existence must be in writing. It can be typed, handwritten, or electronic, but the agreement must typically be signed by both parties to be valid.

Prevent Voidable Contracts with an Experienced Attorney

Creating a contract that is legally binding and in the best interest of all parties involved can be difficult. And, if not done correctly, a contractual disagreement can result in a costly resolution. To help prevent this, and protect yourself appropriately, consider hiring an experienced contract attorney to guide you. 

A contract attorney can help draft up a new contract, review existing agreements, and help protect you if you ever end up in court. These professionals can also help keep your business on the right track and ensure you’re never being taken advantage of. Consider reaching out to Purple Fox Legal, an experienced contract attorney, to learn more about valid contracts and the Statute of Frauds today.