Is an unnotarized contract legal?

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Is an unnotarized contract legal?

My ex-husband and I bought a home 3 years ago; shortly after we divorced. Neither one of us were sure if we could afford the house. So my ex-husband’s aunt and uncle decided they would make the payments on the house until they were able to get a loan to buy it. The uncle wrote up a contract and we all 4 signed it. It was never notarized or signed by a lawyer. Before they moved in the uncle had filed bankruptcy and the aunt is a stay-at-home mother. They haven’t been able to get a loan and not sure when they will be able to. Since then my ex-husband and I have decided to ask them to move out and I would take over the house and move in. Was the contract we signed legal and do I have a right to move back into the house?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unless required by state or munical law a contract does not have to be notarized to be regarded as legally binding on the parties.  To set aside the contract you have to rely on legal terms with in the contract and a breach thereof, or to have it set aside based upon another legal basis: fraud, duress, lack of capacity to contract.  If the contract you enterd in to does not have an end date and depending on how it is written then it may violate the rule against perpetuties.  I would seek legal help here before you do anything.  Good luck. 


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