Deal…..agreed…..solid….I promise………..trust me. Heard those words before? Have you ever been burned after hearing those words? If so, part of the burn may have been due to a lack of a written contract or agreement. Sometimes getting the agreement and terms in writing is best for all parties.
Not every promise or agreement needs to be in writing to be legally enforceable. Sometimes the amount of money or type of situation involved are such that the cost-benefit analysis do not lend themselves to having a written agreement. Having someone perform lawncare services at your home may not really necessitate a written agreement. On the other hand, having a contractor add a bonus room to your home is a transaction that you would be best advised to commit to writing (and perform your due diligence on the contractor before the work ever begins).
There are some agreements that need not be reduced to writing but can still be legally enforceable. However beware the Statute of Frauds which lists the contracts that MUST be in writing to be enforceable. Contract law, which is an intense eight-month course at most law schools, involves some strange and often complicated and confusing concepts. The point is, as one local lawyer says, you don’t know what you don’t know. And what you don’t know can sometimes hurt you.
If you are contemplating entering into a consumer transaction, business venture, or other encounter in which you stand to lose more than you can afford to lose, consult an attorney about whether you need a written contract. It may be a good investment of your time and money to have that written contract created, negotiated, and signed before moving forward. If you are in the midst of an issue or dispute that involves a written contract you should probably seek legal counsel for an assessment of your rights and options. Don’t guess and don’t go it alone. For a consultation about a contract issue contact me at your convenience.