Are Verbal Contracts Enforceable?
November 22, 2021


We are all pretty used to dealing with written contracts. However, there are some instances where verbal agreements may apply, but are they enforceable? In some instances verbal contracts are fully enforceable. However, there are many instances where Courts have refused to enforce a verbal contract.  The only way to be sure  your contract is valid – do it in writing!

Needless to say, contracts like those covering wills and estates are handled by estate planning lawyers to ensure that all legalities are covered. However, given that there are many complexities involved in verbal contracts, it pays to learn more about them and how you should manage them.

Digging Deeper on Verbal Contracts

The issue with verbal contracts is that the terms stated should be proven by oral testimony rather than a written document, which is more transparent and precise. Unfortunately, the common problem is that people often may not have the same recollection about the agreement. In some cases, they may even intentionally be dishonest about their memory of an oral agreement.

Because it is more complex and there are no guarantees, verbal contracts take twice as long to deal with and may even cost much more to prove. For this reason, it is always best to have a written agreement rather than a verbal one. Taking all of that into consideration, oral contracts are still enforceable under the right circumstances, just harder to enforce.

Of course, there are some cases where oral or verbal contracts are prohibited. This is why it is best to speak with your lawyer to ensure the terms of your agreement are followed.

Generally, there are two types of verbal contracts — express contracts and implied contracts. The latter are referred to those inferred by the parties’ conduct, while express contracts are verbally agreed upon.

Verbal Contract Basics and When They Are Prohibited

  • In Pennsylvania, these types of contracts must be in writing:
    • The purchase or transfer of real estate
    • Leases for a term of three years or more
    • Agreements to be responsible for someone else’s debt(s)
  • An oral contract must have three essential elements to be enforceable:
    • An offer
    • Acceptance of the offer
    • Consideration

The Bottom Line: Work With a Reputable Lawyer

Of course, these are only surface levels of the law, and speaking to an experienced lawyer is recommended to ensure that all legalities regarding your contract are in check. This way, you can prevent fraud, issues, and penalties that may arise in court.

How Can We Help You?

The seasoned attorneys at Daley Zucker, LLC, specialize in practice areas: family law, estate planning and administration, employment law, elder law, insurance law, PA sales and Use Tax Litigation and taxation, municipal law, and more.

If you are looking for a reputable lawyer in Harrisburg, PA, reach out to us today!




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