Are Signed Pieces of Paper as Binding as an Official, Legal Contract?

November 5, 2015

Are Signed Pieces of Paper as Binding as an Official, Legal Contract?

Navigating your way through a business deal can be tricky, especially if it’s an informal agreement with not many guidelines to help the arrangement go smoothly. These are times when you want to proceed with caution, and the thought may have occurred to you to whip up a contract on the spot, using everyday notebook paper. Sure, it’s a hasty move, but is it enforceable? Here’s a deeper look at contract law and how it may apply in cases like these.

signed piece of paper contractIn some cases, not even a piece of paper is needed to have a valid contract. All that’s really required is that all parties are in agreement after an offer has been made by one party and accepted by another, and that each party gives and receives something of value, called consideration, upon the completion of the contract. An oral contract can be enough as long as everything goes smoothly, but if you find yourself dealing with contract breaches, the agreement can be difficult, if not impossible, to prove if you don’t have something in writing. In this case, your signed piece of notebook paper is better than nothing.

For more significant documents, such as wills, documents involved in real estate transactions,and transactions over a certain value, a little bit more is required to convince a court of its validity. This is the level where a formal contract filled with legalese signed in front of witnesses and/or notarized is the only way make sure the law takes you seriously.

If you have a pressing matter that requires an answer as to whether a not a contract you’ve signed is valid, you should contact an attorney or our Mesa attorneys Schenk Podolsky. Contract law is often complicated and there are several other factors involved in determining if a contract is enforceable. An attorney in Arizona who is experienced in the state laws regarding contracts can help you navigate any rough waters you may have hit.