Online Legal Form Services – Top Ten

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Legal services?

While it is always advisable to use an attorney for complex legal issues, there are times when a simple legal form is all you need. The following 10 websites offer online legal form services for a number of generic, fill in the blank type documents. You’ll find a number of free options as well as low-cost options. They offer documents in various formats of which some can be modified to suit your circumstances. Others will only allow for filling in the blanks. Keeping this list handy will be beneficial the next time you want to save some money on legal form preparation. With some forms you will need to be sure that you get the version that is the right one for the state in which you live. The websites are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.

 

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1. Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com/formnet/legalforms.html

Global Alexa Rating: 866

Entrepreneur has always been known for their guidance to business owners, so it is not surprising that among all other useful tools can be found legal forms and templates. All of their forms are subject to their disclaimer which can be found on the website. Forms are found either in Microsoft Word, Excel or Adobe PDF. Although most of the forms are business related there are also common forms such as power of attorney and prenuptial agreement. Some of the forms are free where others are individually priced or can be part of a package of forms such as a tenant toolkit and corporate financial forms. Each of the forms shows you how many times it has been downloaded. There is a search feature so that you can easily locate the form you need. When you click on a form to look at it there is an information page explaining the purpose for the form and what it accomplishes. Forms can be downloaded or emailed.

 

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2. Nolo: http://www.nolo.com/

Global Alexa Rating: 5,494

Nolo’s purpose is to help consumers and small businesses financers to their everyday legal and business questions. They have been publishing do-it-yourself legal guides since 1971. Their network is one of the Web’s largest library is the consumer friendly legal information, all available for free. While the information is free, the forms themselves are not. Instead there is a subscription fee which allows you to use the form for one year so you can download, print and send it. You can save and edit the form, even preview it, before you buy it. They offer online forms, software, books and eGuides. They also have a lawyer directory for when you do want advice and assistance from a lawyer. There are forms included for business as well as personal use. Some examples include residential leases, promissory notes and sales contracts. They also have some unique offerings including a bill of sale for a dog and housesitting instructions. When you click on a form it will explain the form and give important notification such as the inability to use a form if you live in specific states. For example, the limited power of attorney for finances form lets you know not to use it if you live in Louisiana or New York.

 

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3. LegalZoom: http://www.legalzoom.com/   

Global Alexa Rating: 5,911

The LegalZoom website is organized into four sections – starting your business, running your business, wills & trusts and personal & family. The section on starting your business gives information for forming it, naming it, and dealing with taxes, licenses and permits as well as additional business services. There is also assistance in helping you determine which business format would be best for your situation. The section on running a business has such things as real estate documents, trademark documents, business compliance documents and more. The wills & trusts section includes the various types of these documents as well as a “help me compare” feature. The personal & family section has documents needed for such things as bankruptcy, divorce, name change, prenuptial agreements, real estate transactions and more. With LegalZoom, rather than pay for each form you need, they offer unlimited access to all their legal forms through a monthly subscription fee. They offer two levels of subscriptions that both have unlimited access. The standard subscription is currently $7.00 per month. For $29.99 per month you also receive hands-on individualized attention from experienced attorney. They also offer a number of flat fee services at various prices such as $799 for franchise disclosure document review.

 

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4. RocketLawyer: http://www.rocketlawyer.com/  

Global Alexa Rating: 8,490

RocketLawyer provides the ability to make a document do a guided step-by-step process, and also how to connect with a lawyer at pre-negotiated rates for more complex matters. The website is laid out with a business section, personal section and property & finance section. They will also give guidance to those needing to form an LLC, S-Corp. or C-Corp for a new business. Preparing forms on this website is really simple as it walks you through the entire process by asking key questions such as your state, the names and addresses of relevant parties and whatever else is needed which is then populated into the form where it belongs. The first time you use RocketLaywer, you can enjoy a one-week trial period after which you will be charged $39.95 per month which grants you the ability to edit, download, print and share as many documents as you need. It even has a feature to let you sign your documents online. Membership also includes basic legal advice on simple issues and deep discounts when you need more help.

 

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5. BizFilings: http://www.bizfilings.com/

Global Alexa Rating: 33,812

BizFilings by CT is designed to assist businesses. This includes starting up a business as well as managing it. They handle each of the necessary parts when starting a business beginning with a quality check to ensure all the information you provide during the order process meets state regulations. They do a preliminary name check to be sure the name you have chosen is available in your state. Then they prepare and send your incorporation documents to the state agency and deliver the incorporation documents and materials to you including any company form templates specific to your business type. They follow up with post incorporation steps as well. Pricing packages are fully explained giving three levels of service to choose from including Basic which includes the forms you need for your state, Standard which also includes the tools to keep your business compliant and Complete which includes fulfilling both state and federal requirements necessary. A useful tool on the website is a comparison chart useful for deciding which type of business format to form. Although this site does not have legal forms to complete online, it has been included in this list because it is a very complete service yet less costly than hiring an attorney.

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6. Docracy: https://www.docracy.com/

Global Alexa Rating: 41,000

Docracy is a home for contracts and other legal documents, socially curated by the communities that use them. The benefit of this website is that all templates are free to download, customized, store and even e-sign. The potential downside is that anybody can upload a document so whether or not the document is the right one for you or legal in your state and circumstance is not guaranteed. If you have questions about a document, you can ask the person that uploaded it which in many cases may actually be an attorney. Users can upload existing legal documents or create new ones scratch. It is then up to you whether you want it to be securely and privately stored just for your use or whether others can use them. Another huge benefit of this site is the ability to find very specific types of documents such as industry specific contracts. When you browse for forms you will be able to see how many times it’s been signed, how many times it’s been saved, how many times it’s been downloaded and how many times it has been viewed. Users can also read and be part of the document discussion.

 

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7. LawDepot: http://www.lawdepot.com/

Global Alexa Rating: 46,052

LawDepot is a leading publisher of do-it-yourself legal documents and templates with over 10 years of experience. They have drafted over 1 million contracts upping their clients save half $1 billion in legal fees. All of their documents are monitored and revised for accuracy and legal validity, because laws change over time. They even have a 100% quality guarantee that offers $100 rewards to customers finding errors in their documents. Furthermore they will cover any damages suffered in a legal judgment, due to them not keeping the product documents correct, valid and up-to-date up to a maximum of $10,000. They offer a one-week trial subscription renews at $33 a month after the free trial and the ability to cancel any time. You can create and practice many documents and you need. Alternatively one can purchase a basic license which allows you to print and download one form and access it for two weeks. They also have a one-year Pro license which allows you to create, print and share as many legal documents as you need for one low annual fee (comes out to $7.99/month). You can also store your documents with them for up to five years.

 

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8. US Legal: http://www.uslegalforms.com/index.html

Global Alexa Rating: 68,990

US Legal entails trusted documents developed by lawyers since 1997 and used by over 1 million consumers. They offer two types of subscriptions – Personal and Business. The Personal subscription costs $19.95/month and includes 2,000+ state specific forms for everyday use. The Business subscription costs $29.95/month and includes 5,000+ forms including the personal forms as well as business forms, professional letters and complex legal issue forms. All documents have been created by lawyers. They also offer individual forms and packages. Forms are offered in three ways – an instant download, mail order and download in which a copy printed on bond paper is mailed to you and a professionally completed and reviewed document. The website has a click to chat live support feature should you need help in selecting a document or navigating the website. The website includes plenty of information about the various forms so that you can fully understand the scope of the document.

 

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9. AllLaw: http://www.alllaw.com/forms

Global Alexa Rating: 93,821

AllLaw offers information on a number of legal topics including business law, criminal law, divorce, family law, personal injury, wills & trusts and tax law. They also offer assistance with locating a lawyer serving your area. You simply briefly tell them about your case, provide your contact information and then choose attorneys you want to contact you. The website also includes a number of free legal forms that you can download and print. These forms are provided “as-is” as many of them are maintained by sites other than this one. Their disclaimer states that they are for informational purposes only. Given this information, it might be wise to only use those forms that are very generic or have them reviewed by an attorney. A very useful tool on their website is their legal calculators – the child support calculator, chapter 13 bankruptcy calculator and personal injury calculator. The information and resources on the website can prove to be very useful.

 

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10. FindLegalForms: http://www.findlegalforms.com/

Global Alexa Rating: 220,249

FindLegalForms is a database of over 20,000 legal forms starting at just $4.99. They are attorney prepared, valid in your state, instantly downloadable and include a free eSignature. Once you purchase a form, you can use it as many times as you wish. A sample of each form is embedded in each product page beneath the description. If you are still not sure if the form is right for you, feel free to purchase it and take advantage of their 100% money back guarantee if it turns out not to be the right one. Forms are available in Microsoft Word format and Adobe acrobat format. The Adobe format is not editable – you can only print them. Some forms are also available in Rich Text format. This company was founded in 2001 by two California attorneys. They offer and 800 number, Monday through Friday, to reach a business representative should you have any questions. Besides individual pricing you can also sign up for either a standard or premier subscription. The standard subscription allows you to store and edit up to 10,000 documents, includes 250+ free letter templates and gives you 10% off other purchases. It costs $4.99/month for a monthly subscription, $3.33/month for a 6-month subscription or $2.50/month for an annual subscription. The premier subscription offers unlimited downloads of their 15,000+ legal documents along with all the standard benefits. There is a link that goes to a comprehensive list of all included forms. It costs $49.95/month for a monthly subscription, $31.66/month for a 6-month subscription or $24.16/month for an annual subscription.

Whether you go with a free option, pay-per-use option or a subscription will depend on how often you need legal forms and how complex the issue is. It is fine to save money, but always be careful to know exactly what the document is accomplishing and whether it is both legal in your state and covers the parties in the way intended. It does you no good to save a few dollars on form preparation only to spend thousands in legal fees later when it turns out the form wasn’t right.

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