Should My Business Use Online Legal Forms?
Starting a business is expensive. There are no two ways around that. What’s more, hiring an attorney costs a lot of money that it is easy to think could be better used elsewhere when you are launching a business. So, it’s natural to look for ways to save on your legal fees – just like you are looking to save on all your fees everywhere. This feels even more natural when all you are doing is something routine like establishing what you believe is a simple contractual relationship and there are dozens of online offerings that claim to truly protect your business and are “free.” But, how much protection do these free online forms offer?
Unfortunately, as you’ll find with almost everything about starting a business: you often get what you pay for with free online legal forms. Simply put, “cookie-cutter” forms and contracts can be mildly to wildly problematic depending on the specifics about your business. To make matters worse, the costs to correct the issues such free forms create often far eclipses the costs of hiring an attorney to help with these forms in the first place.
Common Issues Your Business Will Experience from Using “Cookie-Cutter” Legal Forms and Contracts
One-size-fits-all rarely works, and this is especially true in a realm as complex as legal compliance and contracts. Just to give you an idea, here are a few of the issues you could face if you go the free route with your business’s legal contracts:
The complete wrong form was used
Ask yourself: do you know enough to read through the document you are planning on using and understand if it’s the right form for what you need? Because if it isn’t, then it’s meaningless. If it doesn’t directly apply, then it is not going to be legally binding and you have zero legal protection.
How old is the form?
You really cannot trust a free online resource for forms. Even if they say the form was uploaded this year, you don’t know if the content was pulled from a form before a new law went into effect 3 months ago or after. The only way you can be certain your forms are up to date and truly offering legal protection is to consult a business attorney whose job it is to know.
Who wrote the form?
With a free online form, you have no guarantee the form was written by an attorney. Why does this matter? Because legal forms require specific phrases and legal terms that make a contract binding. Terms that you use in your everyday life and work can have a completely different meaning in a legal context, so if you have no way of knowing if your contract was written by an attorney, you have no guarantee it is written in legally binding language.
Yes, it may seem like a great way to save some money when starting a business, but the risk you incur from using free online forms is too great. If you want to protect your investment into your business, you need someone with legal expertise in charge of your legal forms and contracts. It’s the only way you can know your business is protected. If you have any additional questions about legal forms or wish to discuss other related legal issues, call Stephen Rizzieri at 214.434.1017 or fill out the form on our site today.