Verbal agreements are a common occurrence in New York and all over the world. However, the question remains whether they are legally binding. The answer is not as clear-cut as one would think.
In New York, verbal agreements are enforceable under the law. However, certain types of agreements must be in writing to be legally binding. This is because the state`s Statute of Frauds requires written documentation for certain contracts to be considered valid. These contracts include agreements for the sale of goods worth more than $500, real estate sales, leases longer than one year, and contracts that cannot be fully performed within one year.
Verbal agreements that do not fall under these categories are generally enforceable. However, proving the terms of a verbal agreement can be challenging. Unlike written agreements, it can be tough to establish the details of a verbal agreement, especially if the parties involved have different recollections of the agreement.
To establish the terms of a verbal agreement, the parties must produce evidence that proves the existence of a contract. Excellent evidence of a verbal agreement is witness testimony, including emails and text messages, that confirm the agreement. Parties may also rely on the doctrine of part performance, which allows a party to enforce a verbal agreement if they have already performed their part of the agreement.
It is worth noting that verbal agreements are often challenging to enforce in court, especially if they rely heavily on word-of-mouth agreements that lack concrete documentation. The ambiguity of verbal agreements makes it easy for one party to dispute the other`s recollection of the agreement`s terms.
Therefore, it is advisable to put all agreements in writing to avoid any legal disputes that may arise. A written agreement is much more definite and leaves little room for interpretation. In addition, written agreements allow all parties involved to know their rights and obligations for clarity and compliance.
In conclusion, verbal agreements are legally binding in New York, provided they are not covered under the Statute of Frauds. However, parties relying on verbal agreements should be aware of the potential challenges in enforcing the terms of verbal agreements and would be better off putting all agreements in writing. Written agreements provide for certainty and clarity in terms of each party`s rights and obligations, making them more enforceable in court. Therefore, to avoid potential legal disputes, it is always better to get it in writing.