Are You Bound by a Verbal Agreement

Are You Bound by a Verbal Agreement? Understanding the Role of Verbal Agreements in Binding Contracts

Verbal agreements are an integral part of our daily lives. We make promises to our loved ones, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. While verbal agreements may not seem as formal as written contracts, they can be just as binding. As a professional, I would like to shed more light on the important role of verbal agreements in binding contracts.

What is a Verbal Agreement?

A verbal agreement is a type of agreement where two or more parties reach an understanding without putting it in writing. Verbal agreements can be reached in various ways, including face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and even through email or text messaging. The parties involved may agree on different terms, such as payments, services, timelines, and other essential details.

Are Verbal Agreements Legally Binding?

Verbal agreements are legally binding in some cases, depending on the state and the type of agreement. However, a verbal agreement may not be considered legally binding if it does not meet specific requirements. Generally, to have a legally binding contract, there must be a meeting of the minds, an offer and acceptance of terms, and an exchange of consideration.

In some instances, verbal agreements may be enforceable under the doctrine of promissory estoppel. This legal theory may apply where one party promises something to another party, and the other party relies on that promise to their detriment. For instance, if you promise to lend your friend money, and they quit their job based on that promise, you may be held legally accountable if you fail to fulfill your promise.

Verbal agreements may also be legally binding where the parties acknowledge the agreement`s existence or where there are witnesses to the agreement. For example, if you agree with your landlord to pay an extra month`s rent to cover repairs, and your neighbor hears the conversation, they can act as a witness to enforce the agreement.

When are Verbal Agreements Not Binding?

Verbal agreements may not be binding in some cases, especially where the agreement involves complex issues, requires formalities, or involves significant sums of money. Some states require that certain agreements, such as real estate transactions or contracts for goods and services over a particular amount, be in writing to be enforceable.

Also, certain agreements, such as those involving minors, cannot be binding because minors lack the capacity to enter into legal contracts. For instance, if you promise to sell your car to an underage person, the agreement may not be binding because minors cannot legally own property.


In conclusion, verbal agreements can be binding under certain conditions. However, it is always advisable to put your agreements in writing to protect your rights and interests. A written contract can clearly state the terms of the agreement, establish a timeline for completion, and specify a course of action in case of a breach of contract. As a professional, I hope this article has helped you understand the important role of verbal agreements in binding contracts.