In Texas, most contracts can be either written or oral and still be legally enforceable. Yet, there are some agreements that must be in writing in order to be binding.
What is a contract?
A contract is a binding set of promises between competent parties that requires 4 elements to be valid:
3- Meeting of the Minds (mutual understanding of the benefits and obligations)
4- Consideration (each party receives some benefit from performing the contact)
Some contracts MUST be in writing
Verbal contracts are limited by the Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds requires some types of contracts to be in writing to avoid defrauding citizens. Generally, the following contracts need to be executed in writing in order to be enforceable:
Contracts for the sale of real estate
Real estate lease for a term longer than one year
A promise by one person to answer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another person
Contracts that take longer than one year to complete
Any sale of goods for a price of $500 or more
Loan agreements for more than $50,000
Oral contracts can be difficult to enforce because at times there is no clear record of the necessary offer, consideration and acceptance. Yet, this does not mean that an oral contract is never enforceable. Nonetheless, if possible, the best course of action is to have a written contract to avoid the “he said, she said” testimony that requires expensive litigation to enforce.
If you are facing a dispute involving an oral contract, or would like to have a contract drafted, give us a call!