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Help Me Write a Better Legal Document

Even if you're not a lawyer, you'll still encounter many types of legal documents in your everyday life. Wills, bills of sale, and tenant agreements are just a few examples of legal documents you may need to write at some point. To help your recipients understand your documents, try incorporating some of the following pointers:

1) Make Your Needs Clear

Obviously, your legal document will serve a very specific purpose. Make sure you take the time to think out exactly what you need to get out of the document before you write it. For example, if you are drafting a tenant agreement for your new renter, you'll need to include the rent you require, your expectations for property maintenance, what you'll do if you don't receive rent, etc.

Of course, you must also remember to state your end of the bargain. Include what you will do for the person signing your legal document. Remember, each party is bound to have a fair amount of expectations from the situation that requires your legal document. Think things through ahead of time so you can be sure that you'll cover everyone's needs when it comes to the writing phase.

2) Keep it Simple

Because the nature of a legal document is often complicated, it's best to keep your language simple. To promote readability, use words that everyone understands, not convoluted legal jargon or unnecessarily big vocabulary. Keep your sentences short enough that your readers can easily manage the information contained in each one.

In the event that your legal document does require a lot of “legal-ese," consider hiring an actual lawyer. There will be consequences if you get it wrong, so don't hesitate to spend the money if you aren't sure how to cover all the bases of your legal document yourself.

3) Review and Proofread

Legal documents need to read professionally and be error-free. Therefore, ensure you carefully review all of the information contained in your legal document. You'll need to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, typos, and anything else you may have accidentally included or excluded from your document.

Going over your work for a second look will invariably make your document more readable, but it will also help you make sure you've covered everything you need to. Legal documents serve important purposes, so it is in your best interest to proofread your writing and review your content to make sure it's complete.

4) Do it Yourself Without Doing it Alone

Legal documents require careful planning to make sure you include every last detail. Again, don't be afraid to ask for professional help if you feel you need it.

Alternatively, consider buying a kit. There are companies that specialize in making kits designed to teach you the ins and outs of writing specific legal documents. You can get this kind of help for wills, bills of sale, registration forms, power of attorney forms… the list goes on. These kits are very affordable – some online versions are even free – and they can help make your legal document professional and comprehensive. Check online or at your local office supply store to see what's available.



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