This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
A contract which is not within the statute of frauds or any similar statute, and which is not within the classes of contracts required by the law-merchant to be in writing, is valid though entirely oral.1 Thus a contract of insurance may be made by oral agreement and proved by oral evidence, if by its terms performance is not to last beyond a year from the time that it is made.2 So an account stated may be made by oral agreement.3 So a debt growing out of a contract may be assigned orally.4 Even if the contract is one which by reason of the statute of frauds must be proved by writing, an oral assignment of it is valid.5 So an oral contract for the adoption6 or emancipation7 of a child is valid. As we have seen elsewhere8 parties who make an oral contract which they intend to reduce to writing may either intend the contract to be in force at once9 or they may not intend that it shall take effect until the formal contract is executed.10 Whichever intention they may have will be given full force and effect, and the contract will be in force before it is reduced to writing or not, as they may have agreed.
1 See Ch. LVI.
2Sattler v. Hallock, 160 N. Y. 291; 73 Am. St. Rep. 686; 46 L. R. A. 679; 54 N. E. 667.
1 Reed v. Orleans, 1 Ind. App. 25; 27 N. E. 109.
2Eames v. Ins. Co., 94 U. S. 621; Relief Fire Ins. Co. v. Shaw, 94 U. S. 574; Franklin Ins. Co. v. Colt, 20 Wall. (U. S.) 560; King v. Cox, 63 Ark. 204; 37 S. W. 877; Fireman's Ins. Co. v. Kuessner, 164 Ill. 275; 45 N. E. 540; Western Assurance Co. v. McAlpin, 23 Ind. App. 220; 77 Am. St. Rep. 423; 55 N. E. 119; Davenport v. Ins. Co., 17 la. 276; Western, etc., Ins. Co. v. Duffey, 2 Kan. 347; Phoenix Ins. Co. v. Ireland. 9 Kan. App. 644; 58 Pac. 1024; Howard Ins. Co. v. Owen, 94 Ky. 197; 21 S. W. 1037; Goodhue v. Ins. Co., 175 Mass. 187; 55 N. E. 1039 ; Sanford v. Ins. Co., 174 Mass. 416; 75 Am. St. Rep. 358; 54 N. E. 883; Emery v. Ins. Co., 138 Mass. 398; Angell v. Ins. Co., 59 N. Y. 171; 17 Am. Rep. 322; Trustees of First Baptist Church v. Ins. Co., 19 N. Y. 305; s. c, 28 N. Y. 153; Croft v. Ins. Co., 40 W. Va. 508; 52 Am. St. Rep. 902; 21 S. E. 854; Campbell v. Ins. Co., 73 Wis. 100; 40 N. W. 661; King v. Ins. Co., 58 Wis. 508; 17 N. W. 297; contra, Bell v. Ins. Co., 5 Rob. (La.) 423; 39 Am. Dec. 542.
3Knowles v. Michel, 13 East. 249; Pinchon v. Chilcott, 3 C. & P. 236; Lallande v. Brown, 121 Ala. 513; 25 So. 997; Watkins v. Ford, 69 Mich. 357; 37 N. W. 300.