Legal costs add up quickly when you own a small business.
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Although legal counsel is always a good idea, it may not be practical to have your lawyer draft every single form your company requires for normal business operations.
Legal form providers have sprung up to fill small business owners' need for sound legal documents. With so many legal form products on the market, the challenge is to identify the ones that meet your company's business requirements and fully comply with federal, state and local laws.
It's also important to understand the manner in which the provider will deliver your forms. Some companies offer inexpensive boilerplate documents while others collect information and prepare the documents for you. If small business legal forms are on your horizon, here are a few of the products you'll have no trouble finding in the marketplace.
- Incorporation. Incorporation forms can be complicated and can have significant consequences, so it's always advisable to have an attorney review your forms before you file them. But legal form providers can help you save money by providing standard incorporation form templates that can be completed and then later reviewed by your attorney.
- LLCs. An LLC is somewhat easier to establish than a corporation, making them fertile ground for LLC form templates. Evaluate each LLC form product carefully to make sure it includes coverage for a custom operating agreement with provisions that safeguard your personal assets against liability.
- DBAs. DBA ("Doing Business As") documentation is required if you operate your company under a name that is not your legal name or differs from the business name you have submitted to the state. The filing process is simple and legal forms can make it even easier with providers who will file DBA forms for you.
- Joint ventures & partnerships. General partnerships, limited partnerships and joint ventures are common arrangements between individuals and businesses. Legal form providers offer products for all three – but check to make sure their forms have properly addressed the nuances involved with each type of business arrangement.
- Trademarks, patents & copyrights. Trademarks protect your business name and logo, patents establish ownership and copyrights protect your creative work. Quality legal form providers are equipped to provide forms for each and may offer additional services like patent searches, trademark monitoring or application packaging.
- Leases. Real estate leasing is a common small business practice. Legal form vendors provide standard lease forms that can be customized to your specific lease scenario.