Oral Contracts

( Originally Published 1918 )

Contract may be made upon an unwritten understanding or agreement. That is, "by word of mouth." And if the memory of both parties remain clear and exact as to all that was said, such contract may be safe.

But if performance covers any appreciable length of time and differences of memory lead to dispute, enforcement is difficult and must depend mainly upon the testimony of others who were present when the agreement was made. In that case a court would probably decide according to the character and credibility of the witnesses and by preponderance of evidence. Or it may decide that the evidence is so vague and contradictory that the contract cannot be enforced.

No contract for anything involving value should be made in that way. All contracts should be put in writing, signed, witnessed and sealed. Otherwise their worth is open to doubt.

Contracts Should Be Prepared and signed in duplicate, triplicate, etc., according to the number of persons concerned in them. Each party should be furnished with a copy.

It is the presumption of the law that a person in making a contract intends to bind not only himself but his legal representatives. Such representatives may therefore sue or be sued on a con-tract, although not named in it.

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