Do you really need it in writing?
Most of us have never lived in a day when verbal ‘contracts’ were the norm and a man’s word was as good as his signature. Back in those days your honour and reputation was all you had and not living up to your word was the kiss of death for your business as well your social relationships. Things have changed somewhat since then, and along with the changes we’ve seen a marked decrease in the value of verbal legal agreements.
A verbal agreement occurs when two or more people agree to something in spoken form. You may talk over the phone or face-to-face, but if it never gets written down and signed by both parties then it is considered a verbal agreement. Many people enter into verbal agreements thinking they are completely legally binding and enforceable. They trust the word of the person they are talking to and believe everything is going to unfold as planned.
The problem with a verbal agreement contract is that far too often complications arise where the parties disagree on something, material elements were never discussed and agreed upon, or one person simply does not live up to their end of the deal. That’s when the pitfalls of a verbal agreement contract hit home: legally-speaking, most verbal agreements are, hypothetically, legally binding (there are a number of exceptions though). But in practice, you have little proof of what the terms of the agreement were or that there even was an agreement in the first place! If there is a disagreement you have nothing written down to refer back to and if it ends up in court you cannot prove the agreement existed. It is essentially your word against theirs.
Written legal agreements help to protect your rights. If there is a dispute over what someone was supposed to do you can always refer back to the details in your written agreement and if the other person fails to live up to your legally binding agreement you have proof of what they agreed to by pointing out their signature on that written contract.
In order for your rights to be fully protected and your written legal contracts to be as functional as possible, make sure you include every detail of the agreement on the paper. Absolutely every aspect of the deal must be specified on your written agreement and then the agreement must be signed and dated by everyone involved in the deal.
To make sure you include all of the required information in your written legal agreements, you can consider getting you legal agreement template forms from Agreements Online. These sample agreement documents will show you what type of information should typically be included for a wide variety of agreements you may enter into.
If you enter into a verbal agreement, don’t expect it to protect you when things go wrong. Even family members and close friends can break an agreement and end up costing you money, tons of time, and giving you a massive migraine! To prevent against this, you need the peace of mind and legal protection that comes with written legal agreements and documents. Even agreements between friends and family members should be formalised in writing. If you aren’t sure how to draw up a legal document, check out the comprehensive range of template contracts and documents that Agreements Online has available.
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.