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A contract involving a promise to do something must be in writing:

1. If it's not possible to completely perform the promised action within a year from the date of the contract. "Lifetime" contracts don't count here, because there's no guarantee that the people involved will live more than a year.

2. When marriage is a condition of the contract. This isn't simply promising to marry, it's the situation beloved by romance novelists: "I will (or won't) do this thing, if you marry me."

3. If one person is promising to be responsible for making sure a debt someone else owes is paid.

4. If it's a promise made by the executor or administrator of an estate to personally cover debts the deceased person owed if the estate isn't large enough to cover them.

Sales and Purchases

A contract to buy or sell something must be in writing if:

5. It involves the sale or purchase of an interest in land. This includes the sale of easements and options to purchase interests in lands. However, it does not include leases for a period of time that is less than one year.

6. Goods are being sold for more than $500.00.

There are lots of technicalities that can be used to try to get out of a contract that isn't in writing. This means that the court has a great deal of leeway in deciding whether a contract is covered by the statute of frauds or not.

If you meet one of these criteria or if you would simply prefer to have a contract in place, we have both a Contract for Services and a Contract for Goods which you can easily modify to suit your needs. 

This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

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