- Education and Science
Free Legal Forms, Documents, Templates & Free Online Legal Tools : Are They Really Helpful?
Some things to consider before you start utilizing free printable legal forms, documents & templates online
Ever since the introduction of personal computers, "do it yourself" legal services, via printing off free legal forms, templates & documents have become widely available to your average joe. They
boast time saving features and more importantly, huge monetary savings.
No longer do you have to pay your attorney $300/hour to have his
paralegal draft an agreement for you!
- Is it a good idea to prepare legal forms or documents yourself?
- Are all legal forms equal?
- What are some things you should know about preparing your own free legal forms?
This article will review some precautions and considerations that you should take before
utilizing free legal forms, documents and templates. Remember - free legal tools aren't always the best tools for your particular situation.
Helpful tips for your legal forms
- Save money by downloading and printing out free online legal forms and hiring your attorney to review them. This will save money as less time will be needed to prepare your documents.
- Consider hiring a paralegal that is certified to do legal document preparation. If your issue does not require legal advice but requires legal paperwork, look in your local phonebook or online for 'freelance' paralegals. They charge a lot less per hour than an attorney does.
- Remember, if you use your own free legal forms or templates and you receive less than desirable results, you will have no recourse like you would with a real attorney. You wouldn't be able to sue the distributor of free legal documents for malpractice.
If using free legal forms and templates can save me money, I should do it!
Not necessarily. I'm not discouraging you to look around and see what is out there in the world of free legal document templates. Some of them are actually quite good. Looking around at various legal documents can give you a good idea of what you need to understand about the issue that you're currently facing.
But, you absolutely should consider taking these following questions into consideration:
- What are your legal document needs? If you think you can easily file for a divorce by using a few free legal forms, think again. In many states, you can file on your own, but simple errors can equal out to big problems for you later on.
- Will this legal document template be applicable in your state? Remember, laws and therefore document preparation will vary from state to state and in some instances, county to county.
- Is it prepared to fully cover all the necessary terms of your agreement? Since free legal documents aren't customized to your particular needs, you could be leaving out absolutely crucial parts of an agreement that you might not consider since you are not under advisement from an attorney specializing in your field. By the time you find out that a part of your contract was absolutely crucial, it's probably because the other side found a loophole in your signed paperwork and now you'll have no choice but to hire an attorney.
- Is it professionally written? "Legalese", the language of the legal profession, is not something that a typical individual, even an English major, can correctly prepare. Therefore, your free legal document may not be written correctly and you may not even realize it. I've browsed around on several legal document websites and have found ones with subtle grammar and language errors.
- When was this document written? Laws change frequently. Your free document may not reflect current statutes or even currently practiced procedures in the legal world.
Things to remember about free legal forms and documents
In closing, never use documents if you are truly not sure if they will cover your needs. It is simply not worth the hassle to save a few dollars if your free legal forms or documents won't even protect you.