Human beings forget things. A 2013 study by 3M showed that the average person forgets four things every day. I would suggest to you that life has become exponentially more complex, busy, and cluttered since 2013, so I would guess we actually forget more than four things each day.
In previous posts, I have discussed the importance of written goals and a written marketing plan. Those posts brought to mind the importance of written agreements or contracts with employers, employees, and others. PLEASE DON'T STOP READING! THIS IS IMPORTANT!
I personally have had one life experience where I suffered a significant loss by not having a signed document. I know many other people who have suffered because they, too, had a VERBAL agreement with an employer, employee, or other person, but nothing in writing.
I believe most people make verbal agreements with full intention of honoring them. But human beings forget things. Perceptions become skewed. Realities changes. Then people are hurt...mentally, emotionally, financially.
When should you put it in writing?
The important point here is put it in writing in a document that ALL parties sign and receive an original copy. It may be a simple handwritten or typed note, or an attorney-prepared agreement, depending on the significance of the event. I cannot guarantee that your handwritten document will hold up in court, if it needs to go that far, but it at least shows an intent by both parties.
A Special Note About Family and Friends
You may think asking a family member of friend to sign an agreement will negatively impact the relationship. It may or may not. BUT...I can guarantee you if one of you has an expectation of any significance that the other reneges on, it will impact the relationship.
If you need a written agreement with a family member or friend, remind them that people forget details. This is to help YOU remember so there are no hard feelings down the road.
I hope you never need to pull out the document. But if you do, you will be very glad you have it.
And remember, people forget. It may be YOU who has the unclear memory and the document will help you from feeling resentful or accusing someone of something that YOU forgot.