Regardless of what we do, paper and forms are a huge part of our life. Some are simple and some complex. Others seem unnecessary, while certain documents are worth more than you can imagine at certain times and during certain circumstances. For anyone who wants a head start with drafting forms, Attorney Ralph Warner & Robin Leonad’s book “101 Law Forms for Personal Use” is a handy reference.
Nolo prides itself on making the law accessible to everyone. Nolo law books are written in plain English and help the non-lawyer with many areas of legal advice. And while no book can substitute for a licensed attorney, there are many instances where all a person really needs is the information contained in a book. We must trust the individual will know when the book isn’t sufficient and an attorney should be consulted.
This text is all about forms. The introduction discusses how to use the book. There are sections on filling in the contracts and forms, editing the forms, describing people, property and events, signing the forms, resolving disputes, and a brief bit on if you need a lawyer. It is a short chapter with brief general advice regarding the book.
One thing a person could do is use this book to get a head start, and then let an attorney review it to ensure you have not missed anything and that it complies with your local statutes and regulations.
The forms are divided into fifteen categories or chapters and those categories are:
1. Delegating Authority to Care for Children, Pets, and Property. Forms in this chapter include: Authorization for Minor’s Medical Treatment, Pet Care Agreement, Power of Attorney for Real Estate and more. 10 forms in all.
2. Basic Estate Planning. 5 forms including Property Worksheet, Beneficiary Worksheet, and basic wills.
3. Things to Do After Death: Documents for Executors. Request for Death Certificate, Notice to Creditor of Death, Executor’s Checklist and others. 7 in all.
4. Renting a Place to Live. Forms such as Apartment-Finding Service Checklist, Landlord-Tenant Agreement to Terminate Lease, Landlord-Tenant Checklist, Notice of Needed Repairs and others. 9 forms total in this chapter.
5. Borrowing and Lending Money. There are 16 forms in this chapter, including forms such as: Loan Comparison Worksheet, Promissory Notes, Cosigner Provision, and Overdue Payment Demand.
6. Buying a House. Forms such as Idea House Profile, House Comparison Worksheet, and Mortgage Rates and Terms Worksheet are included in this chapter that contains 7 forms in all.
7. Buying or Selling a Car, Dog, or Other Personal Property. 5 Forms. Bills of Sale for motor vehicles, boat, computer system, general, and dog.
8. Renting Personal Property and Storing Goods. 3 forms consisting of Personal Property Rental Agreement, Notice of Termination, and Storage Contract.
9. Home Repairs and Maintenance. 3 forms consisting of Home Maintenance Agreement, Home Repairs Agreement, and Contractor Mid-Job Worksheet.
10. Handling Personal Finances. There are 11 forms in this chapter and they include: Daily Expenses, Monthly Income, Assignment of Rights, Request for Credit Check, and Dispute Credit Card Charge.
11. Dealing With Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls. 5 forms. Included are: Notice to Remove Name From List, Telemarketing Phone Call Log, and Demand for Damages for Excessive Calls.
12. Hiring Child Care, Elder Care, or Household Help. 4 forms in this chapter. They include: Child Care Agreement and Instructions, and Elder Care Agreement.
13. Living Together. Forms include Agreement to Keep Property Separate, Agreement for a Joint Purchase, and Declaration of Legal Name Change. 4 forms total.
14. Settling Legal Disputes. There are 10 forms in this chapter and they range from a Demand Letter to various releases. One thing I would definitely recommend is that a person consult with an attorney before signing any release.
15. Miscellaneous Forms for Personal Use. The final 6 forms in this book include: Complaint Letter, Notice of Insurance Claim, Notice to Cancel Certain Contracts, and an Identity Theft Worksheet among others.
The book also comes with a CD-ROM containing all the forms and the appendixes include instructions on how to use the CD-ROM and tear out fill in the blank forms.
This is a handy reference to have, but I do feel that a lot of people will never use many of the forms found here. Others though will be quite helpful. It’s not that expensive of a book, especially with the included CD-ROM, so if you need a legal form reference, this is not bad to have on the shelf to assist you with drafting documents when the time comes that you need them.