As you are probably aware, most businesses rely on a number of contracts of contracts and agreements. These typically include partnership agreements, employment contracts, purchase agreements and a variety of others that have been carefully drafted and reviewed before they are signed. Most such agreements are formalized in writing, as doing so creates a permanent record of the agreement that can be used to enforce the terms of the contract if necessary.
Contrary to popular belief, however, an oral contract may also be enforceable in many cases. If your company is in a dispute over an oral agreement, you need to contact an experienced business contract attorney as soon as possible. Such cases are especially complex and you need to ensure that your company’s legal rights and financial interests are fully protected.
How an Oral Contract Can Become Valid
For an oral contract to be valid, you must be able to satisfy several elements. Specifically, the party seeking relief must be able to prove that:
- There was mutual consent to the agreement;
- An offer was made by one party and accepted by the other;
- The non-breaching party actually performed their obligations under the contract; and
- All parties acted in good faith throughout the process.
It must be noted that there is often a mild bias against enforcing oral contracts. This is because it can be difficult to prove all of the elements without a written agreement. In some cases, courts may decide that there was merely a he-said, she-said type of misunderstanding and decline to enforce the contract. When possible, be sure to get all contracts in writing. Ultimately, important agreements should not only be written down, but they should be drafted and reviewed by a qualified attorney.
Some Contracts Must Be in Writing
Business owners should also be aware the law in Illinois requires certain types of contracts to be in writing. Specifically, the following types of contracts must be in writing:
- An agreement that cannot be performed within one year;
- An agreement for the sale of real estate;
- An agreement made by the executor of another party’s estate; and
- Any contract for the sale of goods totaling more than $500.
Even in these cases, however, there are still exceptions that could lead to a normally unenforceable agreement being held valid. For example, a concept known a promissory estoppel can sometimes be used to help individuals and businesses who have relied on a promise to their own detriment. It is very challenging to get such agreements enforced, but it is possible in some cases.
Seek Legal Help Today
To learn more about oral contracts in Illinois or to begin the process of enforcing an oral agreement made by a business associate, contact an experienced Naperville business contracts attorney for help. At The Gierach Law Firm, we will work with you in understanding your options and provide the guidance you need at every stage of the proceedings. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation today.