Many people assume attorneys are the only option they have when planning to create and notarize legal documents whether for life planning, bankruptcy, or divorce. But in reality, there is another option which is less costly especially for people in Arizona. Certified legal document preparers are authorized by the Arizona Supreme Court to assist individuals, families, and businesses with legal document preparation that are tenable in the court of law.
What is a Certified Legal Document Preparer?
An Arizona Certified Legal Document Preparer is a person or entity certified by the Arizona Supreme Court to provide legal document preparation, similar to a paralegal, except without an attorney’s supervision. They can explain the factual information of a document but can not give legal advice or opinions. They can also be a registered notary public which saves time when done simultaneously.
When should you choose a Legal Document Preparer over an attorney?
Engaging the service of a legal document preparer, sometimes referred to as a legal document assistant, can save you money compared to hiring an attorney or paralegal to prepare your documents. Law firms are typically organized around partners, associates, and a variety of staff providing paralegal, clerical, and other support services. As you can guess, this system can significantly add to the overhead and expenses of legal document preparation. A legal document preparer is an individual or small team of people whose main job is to prepare your legal document preparation in a more cost-effective and timely manner.
Also, the time of getting your legal document preparation is shorter, including notarization since most document preparers are also notaries. Most, if not all, attorneys are busy with more serious and more financially rewarding cases on their desks to attend to every day. Sometimes, your documents may not be ready on time especially if you hire an attorney or paralegal from a large law firm. An independent paralegal firm of LDP’s are another great option.
Types of Document Preparation by a Certified Legal Document Preparer
The experience level and services offered by document preparers very just like a notary or paralegal. Therefore, it is important to find one that fits your legal document preparation needs. Paralegals often become certified legal document preparers after gaining experience working for an attorney and have the desire to be independent. This is why in Arizona an LDP is sometimes referred to as an Independent Paralegal.
Wills and Trusts
Providing a will, or guideline, on how you would like your property to be shared after your demise can help prevent needless legal battles, and protect your loved ones such as your spouse, children, and other beneficiaries. That said, it is important you prepare a will or trust as the case may be. Wills and trusts go hand in hand with the powers of attorney. Any paralegal or legal document preparer should be able to explain the documents.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives an individual (also referred to as the agent) or attorney-in-fact the power to act for another person (the principal). The agent can have broad or limited legal authority to make legal decisions about the principal’s property, finance, or medical care.
LLC’s and Corporations
Legal document preparers can assist you in starting an entity in Arizona. Whether you are a sole proprietor or forming an LLC, PLLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp getting your document prepared is simple. Before contacting a document preparer do your research, speak with a CPA or an attorney to decide the entity you want to create. Document preparers can not give you advice or help you choose an entity type.
Legal document preparers can also assist you with divorce and child custody documents. Of course, they can not give legal advice, so depending on your situation you may be advised to contact a divorce lawyer or family law firm.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you decide to file for bankruptcy, an LDP can assist with document preparation. Depending on the complexity of your situation, however, this may require the advice of an attorney.
Whether you are taking a loan to expand your business, or for a mortgage, you need a signing agent or courtesy signer whose function is to obtain your formal signature to the document. In most jurisdictions like Arizona, the appeared is required to sign before a notary public. A certified legal document preparer can get this document preparation done for you with ease. A document preparer completing loan signings should be certified as Notary Signing Agents.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a document preparer?
A certified legal document preparer is an individual or entity registered with the Arizona Supreme Court to prepare and explain legal documents without offering advice or opinions. Legal document preparers are sometimes referred to as legal document assistants or independent paralegals.
How do I become a legal document preparer in Arizona?
Becoming a legal document preparer in Arizona requires taking the CLDP exam and submitting an application with the Arizona Supreme Court. A CLDP board will conduct a screening and FBI background check.
How much is a legal document preparer salary?
Legal document preparer salaries vary by experience. Starting salaries average $30,900 while experience candidates average $59,800.
How do I find an Arizona legal document preparer near me?
The Arizona Supreme court has a list of active Certified Legal Document Preparers, both individuals and entities.