Like everything else in the world, the Internet provides us with seemingly endless options for legal document templates.
Unfortunately, not all of the available sources provide the most up-to-date documents 🙅♂️. Plus, they often lack adaptable forms for special cases as well as court-specific forms for different state counties.
That being said, regardless of the nature of your legal situation and where you find your documents, you should always ensure you’re purchasing or downloading them from a safe and reliable source.
Here are the top three sources I recommend to my clients for finding legal document templates online 🌐:
Good ✔️: A well-known and respected legal website
Chances are if you use the Internet or watch television, you’ve heard of some of the most popular legal advice websites, such as LegalZoom or Nolo.
These websites provide overviews and descriptions of common personal and business legal matters. Additionally, they offer blank “self-help” documents 📋 to anyone looking to represent themselves in court or deal with legal issues on their own.
However, it’s important to use caution when navigating these websites. While they most often provide accurate and helpful information, their material is not necessarily approved by attorneys. In fact, the links they provide to attorney services are not mandated or sponsored by their websites!
Furthermore, downloading a legal form from one of these websites could potentially lead to trouble.
For example, if you’re creating a living will for a complex estate, it’s easy to fill in the blanks incorrectly. In fact, in the end, you may end up paying 💸 more to hire a professional to rewrite your will.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for simple templates, a website such as LegalZoom or Nolo could work for you. However, always be sure to do your research and confirm you’re using a reputable website.
Better 👌: A registered legal document assistant (LDA)
If you’re looking for self-help forms on legal websites, you’re almost always better off hiring a legal document assistant, or LDA, instead.
Registered LDAs are professionals who are experienced and trained in filling out ✍️ legal documents. While they are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice, they can guide you through the process of finding the right forms, filling them out completely and accurately, and even filing them with the court!
Legal document assistants are great options for individuals with complicated legal issues who need a bit more guidance. Plus, they have access to templates for county-specific courts, so you don’t have to worry about filing the wrong paperwork.
Finally, registered LDAs have been authorized by a county clerk 🏛️, a process that involves submitting applications and paying county-mandated fees. Therefore, when you work with an LDA, you can be confident that they are qualified and authorized to help you.
Best 👍: A certified attorney
While LDAs are a great option for some people, others prefer to get legal document templates from someone they trust. By obtaining your templates directly from a certified attorney, you can have complete confidence in the documents you’re using.
Furthermore, it’s always a great idea to use document templates from an attorney who specializes in the legal field you’re dealing with. In other words, if you need DIY divorce papers, you’d probably want to download them from a family 👨👩👧👧 lawyer.
Finally, when you use an attorney’s legal documents, you have easy access to a lawyer should you require personalized help! For example, if you need assistance using one of my templates for simple website terms and conditions, you can easily schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs.
Of course, it’s important to monitor your own situation before deciding which source to use for your blank legal documents. In some instances, a legal website may provide just what you need!
However, if you think you may require personalized legal assistance 🤝, an attorney’s sources are the way to go.