Must a contract be written down?

Is a verbal agreement OK?

Asked on July 30, 2015 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No a contract need not be written; as a general rule oral contracts are as binding as written contracts. That having been said, proving the existence and the terms of such a contract can be difficult.

That having been said, some types of contracts must be in writing in order for them to be enforceable: those are agreements which will take more than 1 year to peform; agreements to assume another's debts; agreements involving more than a certain dollar amount and agreements to buy real estate.

However, whether wriiten or oral, in order to have a valid contract a person has to make a promise to do something or refrain from doing something that they are not otherwise legally obligated to do, and there must also be "consideration" (i.e. an exchange of something of value).


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