Legal forms are documents that support a variety of legal processes. In personal situations, legal forms support many purposes, such as assigning a power of attorney, creating a will, or establishing healthcare directives. In business, legal forms help establish entities such as sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations (LLCs), and corporations. Also, documents are used to support the buying and leasing of private and commercial real estate.
This article overviews some of the most commonly used forms and docs. To learn more or buy forms online, view the complete list at Nolo.com. Nolo.Com’s forms are designed and vetted by actual attorneys to comply with state laws. All of the
Types of Legal Forms
Following are descriptions of some of the most popular types of legal forms.
Bankruptcy occurs when individuals are unable to meet their financial obligations. It is often seen as a last resort, chosen only when no other financial resources are available to pay off debts or meet monthly budget obligations. The financial difficulties may be due to a variety of reasons. Difficult economic times, the loss of a job, or unplanned medical expenses can result in the need to file for bankruptcy. Both individuals and businesses can file for bankruptcy.
Each state requires bankruptcy forms to file a legal request for bankruptcy. Sometimes, you may not need an attorney to file in your state. You may be able to file the necessary documents on your own. Following are the legal bankruptcy forms available for each state, including:
- All official bankruptcy forms for filing bankruptcy
- Official proof of claim forms used by creditors to file claims with the bankruptcy courts
- Chapter 13 plan forms
The reliable, up-to-date information in the document “How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy” will help you complete your bankruptcy case without breaking the bank. For more details on bankruptcy, see our bankruptcy information page.
Bill of Sale Forms
With a bill of sale form, the seller agrees to sell certain personal property items to the purchaser. Examples of personal property include automobiles, motorcycles, jewelry, boats, and other personal property. A bill of sale is a legal document from a seller to a purchaser.
The legal bill of sale document reports that on a specific date, at a specific locality, and for a particular sum of money or other “value received”, the seller sold to the purchaser a specific item of personal, or parcel of real, property of which he had lawful possession.
A bill of sale is a written instrument that evidences the legal transfer of title to personal property from the vendor (also known as the seller) to the vendee (also known as the buyer). Most bills of sale forms require the following information to be included:
- Amount of consideration paid for the transfer of title
- The date the purchase occurred
- Name and address of the Seller and the Buyer
- Specific information about the asset being transferred from the seller to the buyer
- Guarantee from the seller that the item is free from all claims
- Any representations or warranties
- Signature of the seller(s)
- Signature of a notary public
Are you selling a personal property? Click here to get a General Bill of Sale template to provide proof of purchase to the buyer and view other docs online.
Business Incorporation Forms
Listed below are the types of corporate legal forms that are necessary to incorporate a business in all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
- Corporate formation packages
- Articles of incorporation
- Stock certificates
- Step-by-step instructions for filling out and processing the docs
A deed of trust involves a third party called a trustee. The trustee is usually a title insurance company who acts on behalf of the lender When you sign a deed of trust, you are, in effect, giving a trustee title (ownership) of the property, but you hold the rights and privileges to use and live in, or on, the property.
The trustee holds the original deed for the property until you repay the loan. Unlike a mortgage, a deed of trust also gives the trustee the right to foreclose on your property without first taking you to court.
Divorce and Separation Legal Forms
State divorce forms are designed to help you obtain an uncontested divorce in the United States. These legal divorce documents are only of use if both parties are willing to agree to all of the terms and conditions of the divorce (e.g., they do not “contest” the divorce). This type of divorce is the quickest and easiest.
If you cannot agree to the divorce terms, you will become involved in what is known as a contested divorce. If you are involved in a contested divorce, it is best to begin by hiring a qualified attorney.
Landlord and Tenant Legal Forms
A landlord is the owner of a house, apartment, condominium, or real estate rented or leased to an individual or business. The term landlord is used most commonly, but the terms lessor and owner are sometimes used.
In some cases, the term landlady may be used for female owners, but the landlord can apply to both genders. The person or business renting the property is called a tenant (a lessee or renter).
The tenant holds or possesses real estate or sometimes personal property (as security) by any right. The tenant is the individual who has the occupation or temporary possession of lands or tenements of another; specifically: one who rents or leases (as a house) from a landlord.
Landlord and Tenant Legal Agreement Forms can be used for everything from the creation of a lease to its termination, whether the application is commercial or residential.
Limited Liability Company
LLC stands for Limited Liability Company. A limited liability company is a business that combines limited liability for all owners (called members) with taxation as a partnership. An LLC is formed by filing articles of organization with an appropriate state official.
Rules governing LLCs vary significantly from state to state. If you are considering forming a Limited Liability Company in your state, check with the appropriate government agency to understand the laws and required docs and templates. It is also a good idea to consult with an attorney specializing in forming business entities.
Many private investigation agencies are formed for this type of business. Check with your state agency to understand if this type of business suits your situation. Also, please read our article with tips for starting your business.
Power of Attorney
A legal power of attorney is usually a written instrument or document that authorizes a person, the attorney, to act as an agent on behalf of another person to the extent indicated in the instrument. A power of attorney is invalid in some jurisdictions.
There are many different types of power of attorney designations, such as:
- A durable power of attorney – Normally, a power of attorney becomes ineffective if the grantor dies or becomes incapacitated. However, under a durable power of attorney, the grantor can specify that a power of attorney continues to be effective.
- Health care power of attorney – A health care power of attorney gives the agent the authority to make decisions related to health care for the grantor. The health care power of attorney also gives the agent the authority to make decisions such as terminating care and life support.
- Springing power of attorney – A springing power of attorney involves a power that takes effect only after the grantor becomes incapacitated.
View a sample of an online Legal Power of Attorney Form.
Pre-Marital Agreements (prenups)
Premarital agreements can provide legal protection for both parties in a marriage. These forms are often referred to as a “prenup.” Prenuptial agreements are often publicized concerning celebrity marriages, but they are not reserved only for the rich and famous. These legal agreements generally contain provisions under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
Using prenups has become much more popular in recent years, thanks to media coverage of many celebrity marriages and break-ups. Anyone interested in protecting their financial assets in a marriage may wish to prepare the appropriate legal documentation stipulating how assets should be handled in the event of a divorce. The legal agreement forms for each state include the Pre-Marital Agreement and Financial Statements.
Please note that while you may complete the necessary paperwork and legal documentation yourself, hiring an attorney specializing in this area of law is a wise practice. When protecting your money and assets, hiring an expert up-front before you get married is worth the expense.
Last Will and Testament Legal Forms
A will or testament is a legal form that is used to regulate the rights of others over a person’s property or family after their death. A will is a general term, while a testament applies only to dispositions of personal property. This type of doc is also used as a legal instrument in trust.
Quicken WillMaker Plus is the easiest way to create a personal estate plan. Whether you’re just getting started with the process or you need to update previous estate planning arrangements. The WillMaker software guides you through the process from start to finish and gives you the legal information and advice you need to protect yourself and your family. View more information online at:
Terminology Used in Last Will and Testament Forms
- Bequest – A bequest is a gift in the form of personal property
- Codicil – An amendment to a will or will form
- Devise – A special gift of real property in a will
- Devisee – A person who receives a device
- Legacy – A gift. Historically, a legacy refers to either a real or personal property gift.
- Legatee – A person who receives a legacy
- Demonstrative legacy (sometimes referred to as a specific legacy or specific gift) – a gift of a specific item of tangible or intangible personal property, such as a bank account, shares of stock, a bond, etc.
- Testate – To die, testate means having created a will before death. A person who has not made a will before death is considered intestate.
- Testator – A testator is a person who executes a will.
- The executor or personal representative – The executor is the person who administers the estate. The executor is generally subject to the probate court’s supervision per the testator’s wishes in the will. In most cases, the testator will nominate an executor in the will unless that person is unable or unwilling to serve.
Please post a message below if you have any questions about Legal Forms, documents, or templates. View our legal definitions if you need help with any of the terminologies.