Free Legal Forms! – Should I Use Them?
With the recession in full swing it seems as though people are cutting corners wherever they can and that includes their legal matters.
As we discussed a few weeks ago, one of the websites that we provide advertising for allows you to ask legal experts )as well as other classifications including medical, veterinary, mechanics, etc.) questions online for a reasonable fee. That is a good way to get quick answers that will allow you to make a decision as to which legal direction you want to go.
There are also a number of form sites out there for you to use. We also have advertising for one of these, LegalZoom. You do pay for the forms, but they are prepared by experts in just that.
But wait! Aren't there some sites out there that provide forms for free?
Sure there are but in this, perhaps even more than in most situations, you truly get what you pay for.
Sites like LegalZoom spend a lot of time and money making sure that the forms they use are updated and correct whereas the free form sites often use ones that are not only not current, but weren't even correct when they were first "put out there".
As an example, some years ago I was in court and saw a woman that had handled her divorce without a lawyer because she was "just as smart as any lawyer". I'm not saying that the statement is necessarily untrue, I've seen smart lawyers and dumb ones, but in this case the woman wasn't educated enough to realize that she was using the wrong forms for Texas. as a result, when she got ready to sell some land she found out that the chain of title was "broken" and now she had to spend upwards of $20k to correct all of the problems she could have avoided by hiring a lawyer for $1000.
Most of the legal forms websites are run by companies, not attorneys, and provide what they think is correct, not realizing that they have to update the forms periodically or even do away with some of them.
In short, if you are determined to handle a matter by yourself, fine. But don't get cheap when it comes to buying the forms. Go to a reputable website like LegalZoom.