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How to Choose the Right US Legal Forms Website

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Whether it’s creating a new business, registering for a green card, moving house or making sure your affairs are in order, the legal world can be a daunting place. It’s a realm of lawyers and terminology that might seem inaccessible to normal folks like us, regular people who just want to make sure that everything is done above board and will protect those people and things that matter to use.

Well then, here’s a pen and paper. Go on, take it! Now write out the umpteen legal forms that you need to make those changes in the eyes of the law. Oh you don’t know how?

Well, don’t panic because you’re not alone. Take a deep breath, put the kettle on and relax. Legal forms websites are here to help you produce professional legal documents as and when you need them, with as little pain and confusion as is possible.


What are legal form websites?

Well essentially they’re websites that provide you with the tools to produce professional legal forms that will be complicit with current law. This is really important because without the correct wording and areas covered, you might find that your legal documents don’t hold water.

These sites can work quite differently: whilst some will just provide you with a template to fill in yourself, others have more automated systems whereby you answer some questions and it fills the information in for you, whilst some even provide direct contact with attorneys who will speak with you and help you out in any way they can.


What features should you look out for?

There are quite a few legal forms sites that are focused on US law (it does differ from other countries, of course, so your forms will need to abide by laws established in the good old US of A) so what should you look out for? Well, there are a few things, and we’ll explain the important areas that you ought to consider before handing out your hard earned dollars:

  • Variety of Documents:
    Firstly you’ll want to think about the sorts of forms you need. Are you sure you’ll just need the one form or will you need several? We review the variety of documents available to give you an idea of how many common and difficult-to-find forms there are available on each site. Some sites specialise in a particular area of law, such as helping new businesses, or in more personal tasks such as creating your last will and testament. Often it’s the case that you won’t need just one form, but that you may need to complete several to make sure that everything is covered as you want it to be. Some sites will allow you to search for forms, others will ask you questions about your needs. If you know exactly what it is that you want, then this is much easier, but if you’re not so sure, then it’s best to find a site that provides plenty of information on each of its forms so that you have a good idea about how it is designed and its use.
  • Quality of Documents:
    We also consider the quality of the documents produced, which can often be linked with how much input professional lawyers have, and how the samples appear, as well as the formats you can download your forms in and whether or not you can edit and print them afterwards.
  • Features:
    • Browse categories: locate forms based on your legal requirements. Forms are often separated into "personal" and "business" in the first instance but may also include several subsections.
    • Search for specific forms: some sites offer a search function which allows you to type in the name of the form you need, offering several matching results or similar documents.
    • Search for a lawyer: locate a lawyer based on their location and legal specialisation.
    • Ask a lawyer: some sites offer a live chat session with a lawyer who can provide advice as you need it.
    • Questionnaires: your forms can be automatically completed by simply answering a series of questions.
    • Newsletters: keep up to date on the most recent news and events in law.
  • Customer Support:
    How much help you’re going to need is something really vital to consider. If you’re fairly experienced in creating legal documents then you may be happy with a site that just offers templates at low prices. However, this isn’t the case for most of us and it would be a waste of time, effort and money to pay for a template if you’ve no idea how to fill it in accurately and as the law requires. If you’re unsure of how to fill in a legal form then you’ll want to consider what sort of assistance the site provides.
    • Will there be a questionnaire-style automated fill-in system?
    • Will you be able to speak with someone from the support team, or even a lawyer?
    • Are there examples of forms to help you see what needs to be included and how it should be phrased?
    • All of this is important to consider because creating an invalid form could be a massive headache in the long run.
  • Value for Money:
    Another important factor in your decision is probably going to be the cost of creating your forms. Now, all of the sites we’ve reviewed are going to be cheaper than hiring a lawyer. That’s the basic and most attractive part about legal form websites. However, prices do vary quite significantly and the reason is usually to do with the amount of support they provide. The cheapest options aren’t always the best options for everyone, although as a general rule these sites do hire lawyers to create their templates so that they adhere to US law. You might find that some sites offer a one-off set payment rate for having your documents reviewed, or hold a live chat session with a lawyer who can provide advice as you need it. It’s a good idea to check several sites, their costs and their services before making any final decisions. Of course, we’ve done all the hard work for you, so reading through a few of our reviews will give you a good idea about the products, services and costs of each site, as well as how easy it is to use and any extras you might receive.


The Bottom Line:

Well that’s about all we have to say for now. As mentioned, it can be really useful to get a good understanding of just what’s on offer with legal forms websites, and also to understand the sorts of forms you need and how much assistance you think you’ll require.

If you’re in a hurry then our stars ratings system will give you a quick visual impression of how each site performed based on the variety of documents they keep, the quality of those documents, extra features the sites offer, the ease of use and joining the site, any customer support they provide and the overall value for money provided by the site. The best of luck in finding the ideal legal forms site for your needs, and in which ever legal direction you’re headed!