Are unsigned contracts enforceable in Florida?
Yes, unsigned contracts can be legally binding and enforceable in Florida. In order for an unsigned contract to be enforceable under Florida Law three crucial elements must be present. The essential elements of any contract are (1) Offer; (2) Acceptance; (3) Consideration; and (4) Certainty of terms in the agreement. Offer means that a promise to do something was made. Acceptance means that all the specifications of the offer were accepted. Consideration means that each person involved in the contract is receiving or giving something, there is an exchange of goods or services. Certainty of terms in the agreement means that the language must be clear, precise and not vague. In sum, an offer was made, that specific offer was accepted, each party is receiving or giving something in accordance with the contract, and lastly the contract clearly explains the terms. Although a written and signed contract makes it easier to prove that each of these elements have been met, it is not required in most cases. If a contract has these four elements, the contract is likely enforceable.
What type of contracts need to be in writing and signed?
The statute of frauds doctrine requires that certain types of contracts be in writing and signed. The types of contracts that generally need to be signed and in writing in order to be enforceable are as follows: (1) contracts involving the sale of land; (2) contracts which will not be fully performed within one year; (3) contracts involving the sale of goods with a value of $500 or more; (4) contracts made in relation to marriage; (5) contracts relating to a guarantee by a health care provider regarding the results of a procedure; and (6) contracts related to the debts of another person. These types of contracts need to be written and signed by both parties, but an exception may be made if it is signed by the party that the contract is being enforced against.
What can make a contract invalid?
Even a contract that is signed can be deemed invalid. A contract may be deemed invalid if it requires illegal actions, violates public policy, was signed by a party that was not mentally sound, or does not establish the four essential elements necessary in a contract.