When representing yourself in a legal situation, it can be tempting to hastily download the first few legal document templates you find online.
However, not all legal templates are equal 🙅♂️, and some may require more careful attention than others.
Therefore, if you’re using a fill-in-the-blank form for a personal legal issue, there are a few things you should consider BEFORE filling in your document:
✅ ENSURE THE FORM APPLIES TO YOUR SITUATION ✅
Many of the legal document templates you find online – especially for free – are stock forms that have been tailored to one vague legal situation.
For example, a DIY petition for probate may be intended for use only for estates 🏠 of a certain size. In fact, very small and very large estates almost always require completely different forms! Plus, the smallest estates may not even require probate at all!
Unfortunately, even if you fill out all the necessary information for your case, using the wrong form will always require you to start over. Believe it or not, some courts will even DISMISS cases if you use the wrong document 😨!
Therefore, in order to ensure the form you’re using is appropriate for your legal situation, always read the fine print thoroughly and research legal jargon with which you’re unfamiliar. You may end up discovering the document you have is intended for a totally different situation!
✅ COMPARE IT TO OTHER DOCUMENTS ✅
That being said, a great way to know you’re using an appropriate legal template is comparing 🔎 it to other documents.
First, try downloading several free documents you find online. Examining these forms is an easy way to find the most effective document without paying a cent!
For instance, if you notice that one form is twice the length of another, you may want to research which is better suited for your situation. While a more comprehensible document may seem preferable, more language does not always imply a better fit 🤷♂️.
✅ READ UP ON LAW AND STATUTE CHANGES ✅
Believe it or not, a template you find online may easily be outdated 📆.
In fact, many people don’t realize that laws are constantly changing, and even a document created last year could be inaccurate by the time you use it.
For example, labor laws are changing rapidly at the moment, as COVID-19 💉 has brought about a plethora of changes and exemptions that you would need to reflect in any labor-related documents you’re filing.
At the end of the day, an outdated legal template, even if filled out correctly, will NOT hold up in court 🏛️.
Therefore, by researching recent updates in the field of law you’re dealing with, you can be sure that the document you’re using reflects those changes.
✅ KNOW WHEN TO ASK FOR HELP ✅
Did you know it often costs people MORE money 💰 to hire an attorney to fix legal document templates than simply filling them out correctly the first time?
Therefore, while free or low-cost downloadable legal documents present an affordable option for anyone representing themselves, they could end up hurting in the long run.
As a result, anyone looking to use DIY legal forms should look into using a registered legal document assistant or attorney’s website. This way, if you have any questions about the document you’re using, you have help 🤝 available to you!
Furthermore, not all legal situations are easy to solve by yourself. For example, using a lease amendment template to add a pet to your rental agreement is pretty simple and may not require consulting an attorney.
On the other hand, trying to get out of an illegal rental using a DIY lease amendment 📝 may not be the best idea. Instead, you may want to consider hiring legal representation for this more complicated case.
In other words, finding an attorney who provides low-cost, downloadable legal document templates right from their website is a great way to ensure easy access to legal counsel, should you require it.
Ultimately, if you find yourself confused or overwhelmed by your fill-in-the-blank legal template, do NOT hesitate to contact a legal professional. Invalid or incorrectly completed legal documents will NOT hold up in court, and could cost you your case ⚠️!