Is a verbal agreement binding?
An agreement is binding whether it is verbal or written but the problem is, how do you prove what was said? Two parties will have a different recollection of the same conversation, if the agreement comes unstuck how do you enforce it later? It is an enforceable agreement but you have to prove what was said, which is an expensive hurdle that would not exist if you had simply documented it.
But it is enforceable?
It might be enforceable, but at what cost. This case Gladys Hargraves v Susan Eveston  NSWSC 505 has been doing the rounds on social media because of the catchwords, which include things like financial shenanigans and dark looks across the public gallery, but actually every lawyer will tell you they have had a matter like this. Family members decided to lend to each other, there was then an alleged verbal alteration and the expensive Supreme Court litigation was all about that verbal alteration.
An ounce of prevention a pound of cure
Lawyers are often giving the advice to their clients that they would have saved money if they came to see them earlier. Any attempt or refusal to vary the terms of the loan should have been documented, and would have saved the parties a large amount of money and (more importantly) inter familial stress. People sometimes don't want to document things because they don't want to cause a problem, but the documenting solves more problem than it causes.
People tend to remember things differently moving forward, a properly document agreement will avoid future disagreements because everyone can read the document and remember what it is that they agreed to.
So what should I do?
Come and speak to Bruce Coode or Hamish Williams about properly documenting your financial arrangements, or properly preparing your Estate. Your first half hour appointment is free so you can talk to them about your agreement and find out what they can do and how much it will cost you.
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