Understanding the Different Types of Legal Documents

James Lintzer |

Whether it be for personal or business purposes, everyone needs legal documents at one point or another. From employment and sales contracts to wills and power of attorney documents, it can be helpful to understand what types of legal documents you may need in various situations and how you can easily create and sign legal documents online.

By creating a legal document yourself and consulting a legal expert to review it, you can save yourself the expense of hiring a lawyer to craft a legal document on your behalf. You can also use online signature platforms like jSign to easily sign your documents online and collect signatures from other parties as quickly as possible.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common types of legal documents and how you can make and sign your own online with jSign.

Why are Legal Documents Important?

While oral agreements can be binding in some cases, legal documents provide more clarity and make it easier to solidify agreements between parties. Well-written legal documents ensure that all parties are protected and understand what they are agreeing to.

When you use legal documents to complete a transaction or agreement, all parties involved can receive a copy of the document and have the agreement reviewed by their legal counsel. Legal documents are legally binding, meaning that all parties who sign the documents are locked into the agreement barring a breach of contract.

Common Types of Legal Documents

There are countless types of legal documents that you can use for personal or professional purposes. 

Here are a few examples of common legal documents that you might find useful:

  • Will: A will outlines what to do with your assets and possessions in the event of your passing.
  • Power of attorney: A power of attorney gives another party the authority to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself if you become very ill or incapacitated.
  • Employment contract: This type of document establishes the conditions of a working relationship between an employee and an employer.
  • Sales contract: Sales contracts serve as legal documentation of a sale or purchase.
  • Settlement agreement: Settlement agreements are used to settle disputes between multiple parties without taking the case to court.
  • Non-disclosure agreements: Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are used to ensure a given party agrees not to share sensitive information with parties who aren’t involved in the agreement.
  • Loan agreements: Loan agreements establish the terms of a loan. These documents outline who is loaning the money, who is receiving the money, and the terms of repayment.
  • Independent contractor agreements: Self-employed individuals use independent contractor agreements to establish the terms of a working relationship with a client.

To determine what type of legal document you need for your specific situation, it’s always a good idea to consult a legal expert who can ensure your document does what you need it to do.

How to Prepare a Legal Document

To prepare a legal document, you can hire a lawyer to prepare the document on your behalf or use a platform like jSign to create a reusable legal template. However, if you do choose to prepare legal documents yourself, it’s important to consider consulting a legal expert to review your documents to ensure they are legally valid.

For single-use documents and important personal legal documents, like a will, it’s a good idea to work directly with a legal expert to prepare the document to ensure it suits your needs.

For essential business documents that you use regularly, like sales contracts, employment contracts, and confidentiality agreements, it may be easier to create reusable templates that you can use as many times as necessary. Templates created in jSign can be altered as needed to suit different circumstances.

To create legal templates with jSign, sign into your account and follow these simple steps:

  1. Select Documents from the jSign header.
  2. Click Create Template > Add New Template.
  3. Click the + sign, and choose the document that you want to upload from your computer or a compatible cloud storage platform.
  4. Edit the Document Name, Category, and Description.
  5. Add Signers to the document.
  6. Add Signature Placeholders as needed throughout the document.
  7. Click Save Template.

After saving the template, you can find it in the My Templates section, and you can edit it in the future as needed.

Do Legal Documents Require Signatures?

Whether or not legal documents require signatures depends on the specific type of document in question.

Employment contracts and NDAs, for example, require the parties involved in the agreement to sign the documents. Otherwise, they are not legally binding and are not enforceable.

Certain types of documents, like eviction notices, often do not require signatures and have their own guidelines to determine their legality.

How to Sign Legal Documents Online

Online electronic signature platforms make it as easy as possible to quickly sign documents online and collect signatures from other parties.

With jSign, you can choose templates or upload documents from your computer or a cloud storage platform, sign documents online, add other signers, set reminders and due dates, and track your documents to protect against tampering.

When collecting signatures from other parties, only the creator of the document needs a jSign account, making it more accessible and versatile for professional use.

Are Legal Documents Legally Binding?

Not all legal documents are legally binding. The contents of the documents and the circumstances present during the signing process determine whether or not legal documents are binding and enforceable.

To ensure your documents are legally valid, it’s important to consult a legal professional to review your documents and determine whether any changes are needed.

Create & Sign Legal Documents Online With jSign

Creating and signing legal documents online is a breeze with jSign. You can create digital templates, add as many signers as necessary, and track all changes made to your documents throughout the signing process.

You can modify your documents as needed, store them online for easy access and organization, and collaborate with other parties during the drafting process.

Save time and money by creating and signing legal documents online with jSign! Get started today.

James Lintzer
Senior Marketing Manager

White Pen Icon

Worry-free Document Signing in the Cloud

Whether you’re signing a document or need to collect signatures, jSign makes electronic signing a breeze. Get started today.