Are Verbal Agreements Enforceable? | Handshake Deals

Idahoans value community, honesty, and doing the right thing. Wyatt Johnson gives you the scoop on verbal agreements and if a handshake deal stands up in the court of law.

Below is a transcript of the video.

I’d like to take a moment and talk about the handshake deal. “My word is my bond.” In all, except for a few circumstances, a handshake deal is a real deal.

There are exceptions—land (can’t do that). big deals—but in a lot of cases, a handshake is a real deal. What if the other person forgets the deal? What if the other person changes their mind? You can go to court. You can force a verbal contract if you can prove it.

The problem is if you are going to court, you’ve already got somebody who is probably not agreeing to the deal, and you are going to have to leave it to the judge or the jury to decide who they believe. If it’s important that you make a deal that people honor, put it in writing.

If it matters whether or not somebody does what they say they are going to do, have a lawyer put it in writing. There is a good reason for this. First, if you are going to go to court, we are the ones that are explaining to the judge, explaining to the jury why the contract needs to be enforced.

We already understand what the judge is going to look for, what the jury is going to look for, and those terms that will be important in order to make sure that YOU get the benefit of the deal you made. You can write down what you think the deal is and you might do a pretty good job, but there may be those important parts that you don’t remember that make all the difference.

What I have found is that when presented with documents, the people making the deal on the onset for many different reasons are busy, they are not paying attention, they are focusing on the highlights. They will make assumptions about the documents and then move forward based on their assumptions.

The tragedy occurs when they find out that their assumption is wrong. If it’s important, wouldn’t you want to know beforehand if your assumption is correct? If you’ve got a deal, if you care at all that the other person sticks to it, come down and see us. That is what we do. We will help make sure that you get a deal that everybody sticks by.

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