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In the old days, a person’s word and a simple handshake were the most common ways of conducting business. And although the majority of business owners use written contracts today when conducting business, verbal contracts are still enforceable under Florida law. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to prove in court, so it is advisable to memorialize all agreements in writing. In this article, we discuss verbal contracts and the elements that make them legally binding in the state of Florida. 

Legal Elements of a Binding Contract in Florida 

For an agreement to be legally binding in Florida, whether verbal or written, it must contain specific elements. The elements of a legally binding contract in the state of Florida are as follows: 

Offer: First, one party must make an offer to another party to take some type of action or refrain from taking action.  

Acceptance: Next, the party receiving the offer must accept it. 

Mutual agreement: After offer and acceptance, the parties must have what is commonly called a “meeting of the minds.” This means that the parties must have the same understanding of the agreement’s terms. 

Consideration: Finally, each party must offer something of value to the other as part of the agreement, such as services, money, or goods. 

In addition, all parties to a contract must be legal adults who are of sound mind at the time the contract is made. If a minor or someone deemed legally incompetent enters a contractual agreement, then the contract may be found legally invalid.  

Finally, a contract cannot require one or more parties to take any kind of illegal action, such as selling illegal drugs. Therefore, a contract that requires a party to commit a crime is not legally enforceable. 

Exceptions to Verbal Contracts

Under Florida law, some types of contracts are required to be in writing to be enforceable. Contracts that must be in writing in Florida to be enforceable are: 

  • Leases lasting longer than a year
  • Real estate transactions
  • Guarantees of a person’s debt
  • Contracts that can’t be performed within a year
  • Purchase agreements for goods that cost $500 or more

Thus, a party may not enter into a verbal contract in any of the above situations. If a party does enter into a verbal contract in any of these situations, the court will find the agreement unenforceable. 

Contact a Florida Corporate and Business Law Attorney 

Drafting effective, enforceable, and legally sound contracts is an important part of doing business in the state of Florida. Therefore, before drafting a contract, you should contact the experienced Florida law firm of Gueronniere, P.A. When you come to us for help with your corporate and business legal needs, experienced corporate and business law attorney Grace de law Gueronniere will take the steps necessary to ensure that your needs are met. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation with our experienced attorney.