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BLF Tip of the Week

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Using a legal form from the internet might be a huge mistake. 

Why hire an expensive attorney when you can go online and get a legal form for a fraction of the cost? That’s how the advertisements typically go. Online forms are cheaper, faster,  and certainly convenient to be sure. But are they a risk? Enforceable? Legal in your state? 

Here’s some considerations:

1. What does the fine print say? Does it say that it is a Louisiana document?  Does it say that it is based on Louisiana law? Does it state that it was created by a Louisiana lawyer? Does it say that the online company is not responsible for the form being enforceable and valid? Louisiana is a state with unique laws that are based on the Napoleonic Code. We use a civil code that differs from other states. Your legal form may be good in California, but is it good here? 

2. What’s the cost of peace of mind? Sure these forms are cheap and convenient, but are they going to get you what you want in the end? If I sold you a cheap clunker of a car, it might get you where you want to go, but would you be willing to risk your safety for a cheap ride? If you had a million dollar idea, wouldn’t you be willing to spend money to protect it? Wouldn’t you feel foolish if you lost your idea on a bad contract because you wanted the cheaper and easier route? What’s the value of your peace of mind? 

3. Legal forms don’t have accountability like a professional attorney does, who you sit down with and explain what you are trying to do. Using a legal form makes you a lawyer who didn’t go to law school. A lawyer who didn’t pass a bar exam and obtained a license. Sure, if the form doesn’t work you could sue the legal company, but depending on that fine print (See consideration #1), you might be left with no recourse. 

I know what you are thinking, “don’t lawyer’s just use forms anyways? What’s the difference?” Fair question. Lawyers do create forms based on their experience and the law. Once we create something that is “legal” under Louisiana law then it is a perfect vehicle for what you are trying to accomplish. Additionally, your legal document contains the assistance of a licensed attorney, who is accountable for what you are trying to achieve. 

Want to use a legal form from the internet to save a little money? This might be a huge gamble that ends up costing you exponentially more money in the long run. Contact the Borghardt Law Firm if you want a skilled attorney to assist you in your legal matters. 

Franz Borghardt