The Comprehensive Guide to Legal Document Preparation

guide legal document preparation

The more we achieve in life, the more complicated things can get. There are a lot of situations in adult life where you might find yourself knee-deep in paperwork, especially that of the legal variety.

All kinds of deals and logistical agreements will require a fair share of legal paperwork to be completed. This is just a part of modern life. However, you won't always want to have to pay for an attorney in order to fulfill these paperwork requirements. 

In some instances, you'll want to be able to do your legal document preparation all on your own. This can be challenging, but it's something you can learn with a little bit of practice. Read on, and we'll walk you through a broad outline of the basics you should know.


Starting The Process

It can be difficult to determine how to start the process of preparing legal documents if you've never done it before. You need some sort of kick-off point. Generally speaking, that will be determining the kind of legal document you are trying to complete.

Different types of legal documents will require different work processes. Letters and negotiation letters are one form of legal document, for example. Agreements and pleadings are examples of two others. You will need to take different steps depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

It can be helpful to make a list of what you are trying to achieve with this legal document ahead of time. You can write out a list in standard English just to make sure you are on top of your own objectives.

This will help to keep you organized as you work through the process. 

Once you know what kind of legal document you are drawing up, look into local laws surrounding those types of documents. This can be very important. Different jurisdictions have many different laws and requirements, and it will be important that you meet these requirements.


Work Off An Example

Once you've done the above work, you should have a fair understanding of what kind of document you need to put together. It's time to create your own version of it; one that will accomplish the objectives that you wrote down.

The easiest way to do this is to find a few good examples of similar documents online. This will give you a reference point as you put together your own document. In many cases, you will be able to almost copy word-for-word many documents, changing key information as it pertains to your case.

You can find many good examples of such documents on your state court's website. It can also be worth looking into the county or city courts, your local library branch, or free template sites online.

Just make sure the latter kind of sites seems reputable: the last thing you want to do is to copy off an incorrect form!

Start at the heading of your given form and work down through the document. This heading will likely contain all of your personal information as well as some basic details about what the document is intended to accomplish. Make sure you are formatting the document similar to how you see it done in the examples.

As you work through the document, make sure you are using a spelling and grammar checker. There's nothing less professional than presenting a legal document that is riddled with typos.

Work through the whole document and ensure you leave plenty of space at the bottom for the necessary signatures.

If you need to stamp or authenticate a form, you may need to invest in a few pieces of equipment. Read more information on the subject and decide if it's something you need. 


Alternative Options

If you're some way into the process and are feeling overwhelmed, remember that preparing this kind of paperwork yourself isn't the only option. If you have the money to spare, there are many different individuals and services who will be willing to help you.

You can always hire an attorney to prepare these kinds of documents for you. Attorneys have a very detailed knowledge of the legal language. They will know about the requirements of the law in their jurisdiction.

They will likely be able to get the kind of form together that you need in much less time than you would need yourself.

Hiring an attorney also allows you to have someone to ask questions to. As you continue to work towards your objectives, they can provide advice, guidance, and continue to produce more paperwork for you. You may also be able to learn from them how to complete the paperwork yourself in the future.

If you can't afford an attorney or would rather keep to yourself, there are other options still. You could look into a document preparation service online, for example. This type of software can make document preparation easy, and often will cost only a small fraction of what an attorney's fee would.

Of course, you won't have the specialized touch of an attorney. You still might need someone to look over your work. All that being said, this software can still make the process much, much easier.


A Guide to Legal Document Preparation

If you're struggling to figure out how to tackle legal document preparation, the above information might be able to assist you. Preparing these types of documents properly can be difficult, but it certainly isn't impossible with the right kind of help.

Need more legal advice, tips, or tricks? Check out the Legal section of our blog for more helpful law articles and resources.

Frugal Finance: New Articles For Fiscal Fitness