Formatting legal documents.
Learn how to prepare professional documents, including how to format legal documents and the basic information to include in every document.
In order to formalize an agreement, such as a business partnership or residential lease, you can easily create a professional contract. These legally binding agreements are formal documents that spell out rights and responsibilities, as well as what to do if a contract is broken. While oral agreements are fine for small transactions, written contracts protect everyone involved. Let’s dive into how to write and format your own.
Legal document format.
One of the easiest ways to prepare legal documents is to use a template. With contract templates, you can create a fillable form which you can then send digitally to collect signatures. Templates can set the permission level to determine who has access to view and sign a document. You can also use templates for easy formatting on other documents as well, such as a professional invoice or a bill of sale.
If you prefer to create a document from scratch, you can easily handle the task with a word processor such as Microsoft Word.
You’ll want to start with a standard page size (8.5 x 11 inches) with 1-inch margins. Keep the font simple, such as Times New Roman, and avoid the use of color. Remember to break up text with headers and paragraphs for readability.
Essential elements for all legal documents.
If you use a template to create your document, you will often see sections that prompt you to input essential elements, which makes it easy to remember what’s necessary.
If you’re formatting a legal document without a template, make sure to include:
- Basic information: Legal names of all parties, including address and contact information.
- Agreement: The body of the agreement states the rights and obligations of each party in detail.
- Clauses: Any special clauses applicable to your business or agreement.
- Dates: Include the date when the agreement begins, as well as the duration and/or ending date, if applicable.
- Signatures: A signature is required from all parties; otherwise, the contract is void.
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