What Is a Legal Document?
A legal document is a formal document that declares some contractual relationships and gives some rights between the parties involved in the transaction. It serves as the written proof of the scopes and limitations of a person's rights and privileges. Some of the most well-known legal documents are the following: agreements, affidavits, contracts, financial statements, warranty deeds, and last will and testament.
How to Write a Legal Document
According to a U.S. Small Business Organization, small businesses make up 99.7% of all businesses in the United States of America, thereby making them a vital part of the country's progressive economy. Starting a business is as tough as closing it. You have to prepare various legal requirements such as business plans, general partnership agreement (if you have a business partner), LLC operating agreement, employment agreement, non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement, etc. The aforementioned documents are all technical papers, therefore, writing these documents requires you to be keen. Here are a few guidelines that can help you in writing your legal documents.
1. Include the Details of the Transaction
The details of the transaction such as the date, information of the parties involved, terms and conditions, etc. are the meat of your legal document. Let's assume that you are drafting a legal contract. The details of the parties involved in the transaction should be mentioned in the contract for it is a way of being transparent and it prevents miscommunication and misunderstanding from happening. These details include the name/company name, address, contact information, etc.
2. Write in the Active Voice
Refrain from using the passive voice in your writing because it makes the sentence longer. Meanwhile, utilizing the active voice eliminates confusion since it forces the writer to name the subject of the sentence. Let's say that you are writing a subpoena or a family member loan agreement. The aforementioned documents should be timely, therefore, you have to write it using the present tense.
3. Conciseness is the Key
As mentioned earlier, legal documents are technical papers, therefore, it should be written in a concise manner. Words are not only conveyors of information, in fact, they also present the emotion and the mood of the selection. This is not your avenue to be creative. As much as possible, do not use ambiguous words that have multiple meanings because it can mislead your reader.
4. Refrain from Using Gender-Biased Language
The usage of gender-biased language is widely practiced, thereby making it a concern of gender equity. Your goal is to avoid gender bias and sexism in your writing since this kind of practice has no place in business. You have to use a gender-neutral language whenever possible. Lastly, choose words that apply equally to men and women.
Before you decide to print and present the legal document, you have to make sure that it is already free from conspicuous mistakes. You can run it through a software program or an application that is designed to check the spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. However, do not be confident about the result. You can re-check it or you can have an editor to do it for you.