As the saying goes, «a verbal contract isn`t worth the paper it`s written on.» However, is it true that a written contract always takes precedence over a verbal agreement? The answer isn`t as straightforward as you might think.
In general, a written contract does indeed carry more weight than a verbal agreement. This is because a written contract provides clear evidence of what both parties agreed upon and can be used in court if necessary. Verbal contracts, on the other hand, can be difficult to prove in court because there`s no physical evidence of the agreement.
However, there are circumstances where a verbal agreement can override a written contract. For example, if a written contract contains an error or omission, a verbal agreement made before or after the written contract was signed can be used to correct the mistake. In addition, there may be verbal agreements that are not specifically addressed in the written contract, but are still considered binding because they were agreed upon by both parties.
It`s also important to note that some contracts must be in writing to be enforceable by law. These include contracts for the sale of real estate, contracts that cannot be completed within one year, and contracts for amounts over a certain dollar value. In these cases, a verbal agreement may not be legally binding, and a written contract is required.
Another factor to consider is the statute of frauds, which is a law that requires certain types of contracts to be in writing. These include contracts for the sale of goods over a certain value, contracts for the transfer of property, and contracts that involve a guarantee or promise. If a contract falls under the statute of frauds, a written agreement is required for it to be enforceable.
In conclusion, while a written contract generally takes precedence over a verbal agreement, there are circumstances where a verbal agreement can override a written contract. It`s important to carefully review any written contracts before signing them and to ensure that all verbal agreements are properly recorded and included in the contract if necessary. If there are any questions or concerns about the validity of a contract, it`s always best to consult with a legal professional.