Since I am in the business of memorializing deals for people, my repeated message of "get it in writing" might seem somewhat self-serving. Thankfully, non-lawyers point it out too: Lema Korshid on Mindpetals had a post yesterday entitled "Memorialize that Deal in Writing." She writes:
Entrepreneurs, save yourselves from future headaches! Ask your
attorney draw up a contract immediately after the “toast” or the
“handshake”. I understand it is one more step and it costs money. But,
it is a necessary step that you should take very seriously because it
ensures that both parties are aware of their rights and obligations and
provides a remedy if either one of them does not honor the terms.
By the way, while oral agreements are generally enforceable in New York (if you can show what you agreed to), there are some important exceptions. For certain types of agreements, New York’s so called Statute of Fraud requires a writing to make your deal enforceable in court.
Some of these agreements are:
Agreements which cannot be performed within one year from the making thereof; Guaranty Agreements; Agreements to compensate business brokers (See New York General Obligations Law Section 5-701).
Agreements for the sale of personal property over $5000 other than goods, securities and security agreements (See New York Uniform Commercial Code Section 1-206).
Agreements for the sale of goods over $500 (See New York Uniform Commercial Code Section 2-201).
If you need help with memorializing deals in writing, contact a licenses small business attorney in your area.