Your Trusted Attorney 

For Personal Injury, Business Disputes Or Landlord/Tenant Issues

What elements must a contract contain?

Contracts come up in many areas of life, but a contract is only useful if it is legally valid and and enforceable. To create a contract that you can legally enforce, you need to ensure that it contains the right wording and that you sign it under the right circumstances.

Cornell Law School explains that to enforce a contract under the law, you need to have an offer, acceptance, consideration and capacity.


The offer in a contract is whatever one party is going to provide to the other party. It could be an automobile or services to repair a roof. Essentially, it is whatever you are going to get from this agreement.


Consideration is what one party exchanges with the other party for whatever the first party offers. So, for example, if the offer is an automobile, the consideration is the amount of money you will pay for that vehicle. This is what the other party will get from the agreement.


Acceptance is when you agree to the offer and consideration details. You usually accept these arrangements by signing the contract.


For a contract to be legal and enforceable, you and the other party have to have the mental and legal capacity to enter into a contract. Neither of you can be influenced by outside parties to sign the contract. You cannot be under the influence of a substance that would alter your mental capabilities. If one of the parties is under duress or being strongly influenced by another person, the person who is under duress or strongly influenced could later claim that the contract is not enforceable.  You both also must be at least 18 years old to sign the contract since the law does not allow minors the legal right to enter into a binding contract.

To make sure that the contract or agreement you wish to enter into states clearly what you expect to be the terms of the agreement, contact an attorney who specializes in contract law.