Protect Your Assets by Knowing the Basics of Contracts


Contracts are fundamental tools in the business world, establishing clear terms and conditions for engagements between parties. Whether you’re signing a lease, buying a car, or hiring an employee, contracts come into play. Let’s dive into the basics of contracts and understand their importance.

1. What is a Contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. It establishes the rights and obligations of those involved, ensuring that each party knows exactly what is expected.

2. Essential Elements of a Contract

For a contract to be legally enforceable, it typically must have the following elements:

  • Offer: One party presents terms to another.
  • Acceptance: The other party agrees to those terms.
  • Consideration: Something of value is exchanged, whether it’s money, services, or even a promise.
  • Mutual Assent: Both parties genuinely understand and agree to the contract’s terms.
  • Legality: The contract’s purpose must be legal.

3. Types of Contracts

Contracts can be categorized based on various criteria:

  • Written vs. Oral Contracts: Written contracts are documented on paper or electronically, while oral contracts are agreements made verbally.
  • Express vs. Implied Contracts: Express contracts clearly state the terms, while implied contracts are inferred from parties’ behavior or circumstances.
  • Unilateral vs. Bilateral Contracts: In unilateral contracts, only one party has obligations (like a reward offer), whereas in bilateral contracts, both parties have obligations.

4. Enforceability

Not all agreements qualify as legally enforceable contracts. If a key element is missing or if the contract is for an illegal purpose, it may be deemed void. Some contracts might be “voidable,” which means a party can opt to nullify it under certain conditions.

5. Breach of Contract

A breach occurs when one party fails to fulfill their obligations. There are various types of breaches:

  • Minor Breach: Not all terms are broken, and the core of the agreement stands.
  • Material Breach: A significant term is broken, fundamentally altering the agreement.
  • Anticipatory Breach: One party indicates in advance that they won’t fulfill their obligations.

6. Remedies for Breach

If a contract is broken, there are potential remedies:

  • Damages: Monetary compensation for the aggrieved party.
  • Specific Performance: A court order requiring the breaching party to fulfill their obligations.
  • Rescission: The contract is canceled, and parties are restored to their original positions.
  • Reformation: The contract is rewritten to reflect what the parties originally intended.


Contracts are the backbone of many transactions, providing security and clarity for all parties involved. Understanding the basics ensures that you enter into agreements with eyes wide open, protecting your interests and fostering mutual trust.

Always consult with legal professionals when drafting or entering a contract to ensure your rights are protected.

*All information on this website or in the workshops is for educational purposes only and the information provided is general in nature. None of the information published on this website or used in the workshops are to be taken as specific legal advice. Use of this website or participation in a workshop does not create an attorney client relationship between you and the Escamilla Law Office. For legal advice, contact a licensed attorney in your state.