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Does a contract between two people have to be notorized to make it legal and admissiable in court?

San Diego, CA |

my BF typed up a contract between us and I was wondering if it had to be notarized to make it legal and admissible in court if the terms of the contract are broken

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Attorney answers 4


No, notarization is just a way to guaranty the genuineness of signatures, so someone can't deny that they signed something. It doesn't affect the contents of the document. Even oral contracts are "legal" and enforceable on CA.

Your contract needs to have all the material terms to be enforceable, and sometimes non-lawyers don't know what those are. Pleas see my Legal Guide linked below. You should see a lawyer to review (and probably improve) your contract before you sign it.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


I agree with the principles stated by my learned colleague.


This is a common misconception. A notarization is not necessary to make most contracts binding. Although, it does offer a very useful feature: it makes it VERY difficult for the signatory to claim that the signature is a fraud. In the world of "personal" contracts (a term I use for inter-family/friend contracts) this is sometimes a life saver in my experience.

Also, as mentioned previously depending on the nature of the contract you have to make sure certain essential elements are present or the Court (If one has been tasked with enforcing the agreement) will not enforce the agreement. These are some that are essential in almost any contract: 1) the date; 2) the actual nature of the transaction (e.g., if it's the sale of a car, then the car and the price should be specified, among other things; if it's a loan, the loan amount and repayment terms, among other things should be specified.); 3) the names of the signatories and a clear indication that they accepted the deal; and 4) consideration (this is a legal term that simply means that something of value was exchanged for the deal to be consummated.

I hope that this was useful. Best of luck!


My fellow professionals are correct. A contract does not have to be notarized to be legal. Documents do have to be notarized to be recorded. Your contract will not be inadmissible for lack of notarization.

This response does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Only through a personal, confidential consultation with qualified legal counsel can anyone properly evaluate their own unique legal challenges and determine what, if any, appropriate legal strategies and tactics should be implemented to meet those challenges.

Circular 230 Disclaimer - Nothing in this response is intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by any person for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties regarding any transactions or matters addressed herein. You should always seek advice from independent tax advisers regarding the same.”

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