Chapter 14: Statute of Frauds



Today almost every state has a statute of frauds that stipulates what types of contracts
must be in writing to be enforceable in court. Sometimes a state has more than one
such statute, but they are routinely referred to collectively as the state's Statute of
Frauds. The actual name of the Statute of Frauds is misleading because it neither
applies to fraud nor invalidates any type of contract. Rather, it denied enforceability to
certain contracts that do not comply with its requirements.

The primary purpose of Statutes of Fraud is evidentiary to provide reliable evidecne
of the existence and terms of certain classes of contracts deemed historically to be
important or complex. Although the statutes vary slightly from state to state, all states
require certain types of contracts to be in writing or evidenced by a written
memorandum signed by the party against who enforcement is sought, unless certain
exceptions apply.

The Statute of Frauds applies only to executory contracts. Once a contract is fully
executed, the S/F is inapplicable.

The Statutes of Frauds in most states are quite similar. Generally, they include the
following types of contracts:

1) Contracts that by their terms cannot be performed within one year
2) Contracts for the transfer of an interest in real estate
3) Contracts for the sale of goods worth $500 or more
4) Contracts promising to answer for the debt of another
5) Contracts of executors and administrators; and
6) Contracts in consideration of marriage.

The Tennessee Statute of Frauds is codified at TCA § 29-2-101 and at TCA § 47-2-
201.


Definition of a Signed Writing










1) Contracts that by their terms cannot be performed within one year





2) Contracts Transferring an interest in real estate





3) Contracts for the sale of goods for $500 or more





4) Contracts promising to answer for the debt of another





5) Contracts of Executors & Administrators





6) Contracts in consideration of marriage








Look specifically at part (b) of TCA § 29-2-101. It requires that a contract to lend
money or extend credit shall be in writing, signed by the lender or creditor. Be familiar
with this state addition.