An individual will be encountering and signing several different contracts such as an agreement to purchase a house or a car. But have you ever thought of what this legal document about is and what it actually requires from you? Or do you really know the important elements a contract must posses to make it valid and enforceable? Before signing a contract, be familiarized with the four elements of a legal contract:

Competent Party

It is given that any individual cannot engage in a contract with an insane person, and this is extended to people under the influence of mind-altering drugs or alcohol. In other words, one should make a contract with someone that is clearheaded.

A competent party also must be of legal age (aged 18 and above). Minors are not usually allowed to contract, but emancipated minors can engage in a contract. Emancipated minors are the ones freed from control by his parents or guardians, and his parents or guardians are freed from all responsibilities toward the child. This is also applicable to minors that are married, widowed, or divorced. Unmarried minors that can contract as unmarried refer to as an individual that is formerly married (widowed or divorced), in a military service, or has received a declaration of emancipation from the court.

Prisoners can also be involved in a contract as long as they are not under a life imprisonment or death sentence. But restrictions can be placed on prisoner contract rights to secure the prison and protect the general public.

Mutual Agreement

There must be an offer and acceptance, leading to an agreement. Otherwise, the contract will not take effect. Parties involved should have an actual meeting of the minds regarding what they have agreed upon, and act freely and without coercion. And acceptance mirrors the terms of the offer.


Parties in a contract must exchange something of value, either money, services rendered, or promises. Exchanges need to be of the same value. It pertains to what each party gives to the other as the agreed price for the other’s promise.

Consideration differentiates a contract from a gift. Gift refers to a voluntary and gratuitous transfer of property from one individual to another, with something valuable in return.

At times, consideration is also a promise not to do something you have the right to do including filing a lawsuit if you feel you or your property has been damaged or injured. It is also applicable to current agreements.

Legal Purpose

A contract requires these parties to partake in a legally binding agreement, which should have legal relations and an understanding it can be enforced by law. Any contract that will break laws is void and unenforceable. Also, a contract cannot violate public policy and not to be carried out in an illegal activity.