by Thomas A. Archer
When they need legal documents, some business owners opt to employ "online" forms, versions of documents used previously, or borrowed from other companies. It's understandable that businesses might view this practice as a harmless way to minimize costs.
The trouble with using generic forms is that, when put to the test, the user often discovers that there are unforeseen liabilities. States have different laws and requirements that call for specific documents or language in order to comply with those laws. Failure to use the correct agreements could be a barrier to obtaining financing. The wrong type of lease can leave a business on the hook for what should otherwise be the responsibilities of another party. Without proper documentation, a transaction or business decision can be rendered completely unenforceable.
The old adage, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," applies to legal documents. The cost of dealing with unintended consequences and mistakes in "pre-owned" documents is much higher than employing experienced legal counsel at the outset to ensure that the legal documents are correct for your business.