Memorializing an Oral Contract

Memorializing an oral contract is a must if you’re going to use oral contracts at all. We recommend using written contracts whenever possible. However, if you can’t “get it in writing,” you should memorialize the oral terms after the fact.


What is a Contract?

A contract is a legal agreement between two or more person to trade value. Contracts may be written or oral. They may regard goods, services, or other legally given things. Finally, they may be between two people or entities with legal capacity.


Proving an Oral Contract

The problem with oral contracts is proof. If you have to sue to enforce your oral contract, you’ll play “he said, she said.” The opposing party has minimal reason to tell the full truth. Additionally, oral contracts are easy to misremember. You may think you agreed to one set of terms when the opposing party thought something completely different.


Memorializing with Email

The best way to add enforceability to your contract is memorializing it. Immediately after you come to an agreement, you need to email the key terms to the opposing party. If he or she doesn’t object to them, that’s evidence! Your email should read something like this:

“Hey Raymond: Thank you for hiring me to build your deck. It will be my pleasure to complete this project. Just so we’re on the same page, I’ll have this deck done by October 1st and you’ll pay me half of the $4,000 up front with the remaining $2,000 upon completion. Thanks a ton! -Tabitha.”

Obviously, the best solution is putting your contract in writing. Even a cocktail napkin works better than oral contracts. However, if you’re unable to get the terms in writing, this is your next best thing.


If you’d like help creating or managing your contracts, please feel free to reach out to us using the contact form below. Additionally, we can be reached by email at or by calling 919-912-9640.


The information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Any information is meant strictly for legal educational purposes and is not intended to be legal advice.

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