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What makes a valid contract in Florida?

Contracts are as varied as the businesses that use them. Some contracts deal with partnerships and property, others deal with sales and delivery of goods, and others govern employees and contractors. Whatever agreement your or your attorneys are drafting, you'll want to ensure that every contract you use has the basic elements that make it enforceable and valid in Florida. 

Offer

Every contract must include an offer on behalf of one party to take a particular action. For instance:

  • ACME, Inc. offers to sell 5,000 widgets to XYZ Corporation for $10,000.

Acceptance

The acceptance indicates that the second party agrees to the offer.

  • XYZ Corporation agrees to purchase 5,000 widgets from ACME, Inc. for $10,000.

"Meeting Of The Minds"

This is a legal term which means that the parties in the contract intend to be bound by its terms. An offer and subsequent agreement generally creates a meeting of the minds.

Consideration

This is another legal term which means that each party is providing something of value to the other. In the example above, ACME's consideration is their promise to sell widgets to XYZ. XYZ's consideration is their promise to pay ACME $10,000. If one of the parties isn't getting anything out of the contract, then its consideration could be in jeopardy.

Capacity

To enter into a contract, both parties must have the legal competence to do so. If either party doesn't understand what they're doing because of mental incapacity or other circumstances, the contract will not be enforceable.

Legality

Contracts are only binding if they involve legal activity. If any parts of the contract require one or more parties to break the law, then the contract isn't enforceable or legal.

Having clear and precise language in business contracts is essential. It's the best way of protecting your business, employees and business partners in transactions. Conversely, unclear language can jeopardize your operations unnecessarily. Whatever agreements you need, be sure to consult with an experienced contract authority to guard your best interests.

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