Hiring attorneys for issues such as incorporation, contracts, or business sales can be extremely expensive for small businesses. The Internet provides less expensive alternatives, with templates offered by a number of firms. The most commonly available forms are for incorporation or LLC business organization and contracts. Each state has unique business formation rules, so make sure any form you purchase is right for your locale. Not all providers have incorporation forms for all states. Some of the sites have lawyers prepare or review the forms; others make no claims regarding the legal correctness of the forms. All have disclaimers that they are not providing legal advice to customers.
Following is a list of websites that offer a variety of legal business forms and services.
Entrepreneur’s forms are generic and not specific to any state. The site recommends that an attorney be consulted about specific state requirements. Forms are available in Word and Adobe PDF and are free.
LegalZoom specializes in LLC formation and incorporation. It provides different packages (standard to deluxe) of forms and offers state-specific information. It also offers trademark and patent filing applications based on online questionnaires. Prices vary by package and by state. Prices for LLC formation range from $99 to $359 plus state fees. Prices for incorporation range from $99 to $359 plus state fees.
Established in the 1970’s Nolo Press is perhaps the oldest and most comprehensive source of legal forms and legal advice. Starting with books and adding do-it-yourself legal software in the 1980’s, Nolo expanded to providing free legal advice and downloadable software on a website in 1994. Lease agreements, contracts, LLCs, incorporation, and partnership agreements are part of the Nolo portfolio, which provides downloadable forms in RTF format as well as online interactive forms. Prices vary by state. For online LLC formation prices start at $89 and incorporation forms start at $99. Nolo also provides free legal advice on business formation and contracts. Nolo also provides free legal advice on business formation and contracts.
Forms for incorporation or LLC formation for all states are available in Word or RTF. The company sells both individual forms as well as packages of various forms. The site offers 36,000 state-specific forms. Prices vary by state. LLC formation packages start at $49.95. Besides downloads, U.S. Legal offers form-completions services. The site also offers an “Ask a lawyer online” service that is priced by the question.
This company specializes in business formation and covers all 50 states. After the user answers questions in an online questionnaire, BizFilings prepares the documents for incorporation or LLC formation and files with the appropriate state. It mails the completed paperwork to the customer. BizFilings offers three packages, from basic to one with several add-on features. Prices range from $97 for the basic package to $347 for the most complete, plus state fees. It also offers a learning center with information about starting a business.
Rocket Lawyer offers legal services rather than forms. It will prepare certain business formation forms at no cost if a business signs up for a free trial of its Pro Legal Plan. For a monthly fee, businesses can have their documents reviewed by local attorneys. The site provides an online interview for the user to provide details about a business. A local lawyer who works with Rocket Lawyer then takes care if the filings. The cost varies by state, ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars.
This is the mega-mart of legal forms. It offers attorney-prepared legal forms for download and each form comes with a checklist and instructions. Besides individual forms, the company offers a subscription plan that allows the user to download up to 15,000 forms and store up to 10,000 on their server. Prices start at $29.95 for both LLC formation and incorporation and vary by state.
LawDepot provides forms and services in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. The company provides LLC formation and incorporation assistance as well as partnerships, and business purchase and sale. Users answer questions in an online questionnaire and download the completed form. The company operates on a subscription basis. Unfortunately, LawDepot does not provide pricing until the user fills out an online form. The site also has a “Just Answer” section; for a fee, users can ask questions of lawyers who are online.
This company is owned by an attorney and provides more generic types of business forms, such as employment contracts and confidentiality agreements. It also provides non-state specific LLC formation documents. LLC Forms start at $25.
Socrates provides incorporation and LLC formation forms for all 50 states. Its forms are also sold from Office Depot. Prices vary by state. Form packs for business formation start at $31.89.