Will a promise to repay a loan in an e-mail stand up in court?

UPDATED: Nov 7, 2011

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UPDATED: Nov 7, 2011Fact Checked

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Will a promise to repay a loan in an e-mail stand up in court?

A friend fell on some hard times and asked to borrow money so that he and his young daughter were not evicted from their home. I did not have the cash on hand and relunctantly took a $1600 cash advance on my credit card on his word that he would pay the payments when they became due. Instead he has ceased to even speak to me and does not respond no matter how I try to contact him. Our communications regarding the loan was mostly via e-mail where he stated several times his promise to pay. Will these e-mails stand up in court or should I just consider this another costly lesson in life about people?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legally, any agreement to loan money on a promise to repay is enforceable--even an oral (often called, incorrectly, a verbal agreement)--is enforceable. Since an oral agreement would be enforceable, an agreement evidenced by an email, which, after all, is a form of writing (

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