A quick Google search for the phrase “online legal forms” returns 2,620,000 results. Everyday people are using online legal forms to incorporate a business or draft important legal documents such as contracts and wills. While these forms are convenient, quick to obtain, and admittedly significantly cheaper than hiring an attorney (at least in the short term), they may not be cheaper in the long run.
All too often, clients come to us to finish completing the incorporation of their company or to fix problems that have arisen from the form contracts they purchased online. Sometimes the issues are small and only require finishing the incorporation documents or drafting an addendum to the contract at issue. However, at other times the issues have escalated to a point where a quick fix or simple addendum is impossible and the only way to unwind what should never have been a problem in the first place is through costly litigation.
In the age of technology, it is easy to rely on a form found on the internet. However, it is virtually impossible to determine the qualifications of the individual who prepared the form. Most people assume that an attorney drafted the forms they are viewing, but that is not always the case. Even if it was an attorney who drafted the form, you have no knowledge of the attorney’s experience or whether the form has been created with the state and local rules and laws which may apply to your transaction in mind. Furthermore, these forms do not take individual situations into account. Each transaction is different, with individualized nuances. A legal form more often than not leaves out significant issues that are particularized to your matter, leaving you with an incomplete contract which does not protect your best interests.
While using online legal forms may be cheaper in the short-term, always remember you get what you pay for and the fee typically does not include personalized advice. Thus, in the long run for the protection of yourself or your company, your sanity, and your pocketbook, it is usually cheaper to hire an attorney to get the proper legal advice from the outset. The attorneys at Navigato & Battin are experienced in contract drafting and always strive to ensure that our clients have protections in place to put them in the best position to avoid costly disputes down the road.