Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Written Contracts and the Statute of Frauds

A good Pittsburgh Pennsylvania contract lawyer should advise you that there are exceptions to the rule that verbal contracts are always enforceable. It is true that oral agreements are generally enforceable, but there are certain instances where a contract must be written in order to be valid. If you attempt to enforce a verbal contract that should have been written down the defendants will argue the Statute of Frauds, i.e. the requirement that an agreement be committed to writing.

In Pennsylvania, the following types of agreements must be in writing in order to be enforceable:

1. A contract for the sale of land;
2. A contract for the sale of goods having a price of $500 or more;
3. A contract to answer for the debt of another (guarantee or surety agreements); or
4. A promise of an estate executor to pay the estate's debts out of his or her own pocket.

Furthermore, PA requires that the writing contain the following essential terms:

1. Identity of the parties
2. Subject matter of the contract
3. Conditions of the promise made; and
4. The signature, initials, or letterhead of the party against whom enforcement is sought.

There are exceptions to the Statute of Frauds that I will discuss in a future post. The bottom line is that it is always best to put an agreement in writing. But if you don't you still have a good chance of enforcing the contract. Share this post :
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