The Difference between Templates and Bespoke Document Drafting

In today’s internet driven world many people find their legal document needs online. There are a range of options, including the fixed price fees we offer, that allow you to protect yourself and your business quickly.

One area that has risen in popularity over recent times is the templates for legal documents. These can be downloaded in seconds and paid for in an instant, leaving you with a legally binding piece of literature that should protect you as soon as it’s signed and witnessed.

Legal document templates are obviously cheaper and faster than bespoke document drafting as one template is constructed to fit all. They can be ideal for general insurances, small legal areas, such as tenancy agreements and partnerships yet as the requirement grows, they may not cover all.

The Benefits of Templates

  1. Tried and Tested Used by Many
  2. Easy to download
  3. Accessible within minutes
  4. Instant protection
  5. Customisable as long as the jargon stays in place
  6. The cheapest way to protect you and your business

It’s important to note though that templates are very general and if you are held under scrutiny, a law enforcer may find holes that you should have included to ensure the document was bespoke to your business.

Drafted Documents

Many people believe that bespoke drafted legal documents are very expensive. That they cost thousands of pounds and are only affordable by bigger businesses. In fact with our fixed priced fees drafted documents can save you a lot of expense in the future. Recently the news reported that the well-known celebrity Tommy Lee lost over £10 million pounds in a legal battle as the wording wasn’t quite right in the document.

Online Business

We recommend drafted documents for terms and conditions and privacy policies. By their nature these are lengthy as they must cover you for all eventualities. It’s sad but true that a disgruntled user will exploit the T and C’s, they will look for loopholes and they will have no hesitation in starting a lawsuit if they think you’ve missed something. Templates will cover the general use of your site yet they won’t be specific to your stock, services, delivery criteria and so on.

Also online people worry about their privacy being exploited. This is why a good privacy policy needs to be in place. A template will cover the generalisations such as the use of cookies but you may need it adapting to your own case. For example, you may send out newsletters via Mailchimp but the privacy policy via the template states you will not disclose email addresses to third parties. Although you’ve only given the addresses to your own Mailchimp account, a disgruntled customer could sue you for sharing information when they were led to believe you wouldn’t.

Quite simply they may take a little longer and they may be more expensive but you can’t get better protection than a drafted document.

Could Bespoke Document Drafting Pay for Itself?

Legal document templates are on the rise with people downloading these in an instant online. For as little as a few pounds you can have the protection you or your business needs within seconds. With these advantages is there still a place for bespoke document drafting? Shouldn’t everyone simply use templates and just hope for the best?

Unfortunately, although templates cover generalisations, they may be useful if you’ve less than five employees or they could be helpful for a short hold tenancy agreement, if you want to be bulletproof they’re unlikely to give you the full protection you crave.

You can of course adapt a template to suit your own needs but this is unadvisable without the help of a solicitor as if you make a mistake you risk making the whole document null and void. Hiring a solicitor to adapt a template is quite insulting. It’s embarrassing for you and in the end you will have paid the same amount as if you’d drafted a document from the start.

The Loopy Loopholes

In business drafted documents are essential. It’s a sad but true fact that the USA suing culture has hit Britain. Ten years ago we wouldn’t have dreamed of suing a box over a simple fall but today we all know that “where there’s blame there’s a claim”. This means businesses and individuals must be stringent with legally binding documents as the lawyers that promise the “no win no fee” service have an incredible knack for sniffing out loopholes you won’t even have noticed yourself.

Case Example: Let’s say you sell ice cream. You have a health and safety policy template that covers you for accidental spills. Now an employee slips on ice cream and you face a lawsuit. You may have detailed that any injury caused by accidental spills is the responsibility of the employee (as they should follow legislation of mopping, drying and placing a sign to warn others) but your no win no fee lawyer sees a loophole. Ice cream in its solid form can’t spill. Therefore your template doesn’t apply to trips and falls from the product you sell.

Many have lost thousands if not millions of pounds trying to save money with templates and in some cases they are enough but if you’re at risk of being sued, such as for health and safety, for privacy policies or terms and conditions, you need to ensure your documents are watertight.

The Lengthy T and C’s

Pop over to any well-known brand and have a flick through their terms and conditions. You’ll see how lengthy they are. They not only protect against big lawsuits they protect against the everyday almost absolving a company of all responsibility.

Claims such as “we will not be held responsible for…” “We reserve the right to…” “Our refund policy clearly states that…” These statements although innocent looking when you scan through the T and Cs and tick the box to say you agree stop the company been taken to court instantly.

With a drafted document you’ll be able to explore every angle to use the knowledge of a solicitor and tap into his expertise. Your solicitor will present you with worst case scenarios you hadn’t thought of but were thankful he or she brought them up.

In any area of law where you need to be protected it’s worth calculating how much you could lose should your legal document be challenged and then fail to stand up in court. Then see if the investment in bespoke document drafting is worth it.

The Legal Stop | Online Legal Services

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the law and provision of legal services more accessible and transparent to people and businesses alike.

We provide fixed fee legal services and legal and business document templates for all types and sizes of businesses. We offer a wide range of downloadable contract templates and online legal services to businesses, start-ups, and individuals. Our services include:

For more info please visit: www.thelegalstop.co.uk

 

Share of Joint Property Passing by Survivorship

The Legal Stop | Fixed Fee Legal Services

There is no obligation to accept an inheritance either under the terms of a Will, an intestacy or by right of survivorship. When an inheritance is not wanted a Deed of Variation can be used to redirect the inheritance to another beneficiary. Thus, a beneficiary who is entitled to part of a deceased person’s estate under a Will, intestacy or by right of survivorship can use a Deed of Variation to redirect the inheritance to another beneficiary of their choice.

Under the doctrine of survivorship where property is owned by two persons as joint tenants if one owner dies then their interest in the property passes to the survivor. Sometimes the surviving joint tenant may not want the property; in these circumstances the surviving joint can use a Deed of Variation to redirect the inheritance.

There are many reasons why beneficiaries may wish to vary or redirect assets held in a deceased person’s estate, one of the main reasons is to save Inheritance Tax.

When an original beneficiary uses a Deed of Variation in order to make some sort of gift and to redirect all or part of an inheritance, the gift, for Tax purposes, will be treated as having been made by the deceased person and not by the original beneficiary.

In certain situations a Deed of Variation may be used to avoid paying Inheritance Tax, provided that it is executed within two years of death.

If the Deed of Variation is executed within two years of death and contains a statement that it is intended that section 62(6) of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Tax Act 1992 should apply, in most cases the transfer will not constitute a disposal for capital gains tax purposes. It takes effect from the date of death and works as if the distribution of the deceased’s estate had incorporated the variation.

A Deed of Variation is not retrospective for Income Tax purposes. Any income which is payable to the original beneficiary after the death of the deceased, but before execution of the deed of variation, is taxable as the income of that beneficiary.

A Deed of Variation – Share of Joint Property Passing by Survivorship shall be used where the person receiving the inheritance owned property jointly with the deceased, acquired the deceased’s interest in the property by the right of survivorship and wishes to give that interest to some other person.

 

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the provision of legal services accessible and transparent for people and businesses alike.

The Legal Stop provides affordable and transparent diverse online legal services on a fixed fee basis.  Our services include: Fixed Fee Legal Advice from UK Solicitors and Barristers, Fixed Fee Document Drafting and Legal and Business Document Templates.

Please visit us at www.thelegalstop.co.uk

Distribution Agreements

A Distribution Agreement is a legal contract between a Supplier (generally a manufacturer) that supplies goods and/or services to another party, the Distributor, for resale in a specified territory. Basically, the Supplier wishes to have its products distributed and the Distributor’s role is to develop the largest possible market for a product through distribution, sales and marketing activities.

A well written Distribution Agreement regulates the relationship between the parties; it should be comprehensive and balanced in that it sets out the rights and obligations of the parties and protects the interests of both parties.

Distribution Agreements may be exclusive or non-exclusive. In an exclusive distribution agreement the distributor will be the only person permitted to distribute the products/services in the territory. Conversely, in a non-exclusive distribution agreement the distributor might be one of several distributors in the same territory.

Distribution Agreements must be carefully drafted to take into account what the parties are trying to achieve and the implications of competition law and other regulations that can have severe penalties.

Key elements to be considered include:

  • The territory covered
  • Non-exclusivity or exclusivity
  • Non-compete obligations
  • Responsibilities of the parties in terms of promoting, selling and distributing the products/services
  • Intellectual property
  • Terms and conditions of sale
  • Confidential information
  • Circumstances in which the agreement may be terminated
  • Consequences of termination

Please note that you can give a distributor exclusive rights to a particular territory, however, under competition law you may not be able to give the distributor exclusive rights and at the same time prevent the distributor from selling competing products.

You can stop a distributor selling competing products provided you do not have ‘selective distribution’ or have a market share of over 30%. However, the restriction on selling competing products must not be indefinite or last more than five years.

You have ‘selective distribution’ if you deliberately limit the number of distributors, or require distributors to meet particular qualifying criteria. ‘Selective distribution’ has implications under competition law. In particular, it is illegal to prevent selective distributors from selling competing products.

You can stop a distributor selling outside the territory if your share of the market on which it supplies the relevant goods or services does not exceed 30%.  If you have a market share of over 30% then you cannot.

Furthermore, a distribution agreement cannot restrict passive sales i.e. if a customer approaches the distributor then the distributor should be free to sell to that customer even if it is outside the territory.

Finally, please note that you cannot control the prices a distributor charges their customers for the products/services as it would be a breach of competition law.

The Legal Stop provides several services including fixed fee legal document drafting where you will be able to obtain a distribution agreement specifically tailored to meet your needs. In addition we also offer downloadable distribution agreement templates, our templates are:

Our distribution agreement templates are suitable for use in the UK or abroad where the parties to the agreement are individuals or businesses, and can be used for sale and promotion of goods and/or services. They are flexible and can be adapted to suit specific needs of the parties.

The templates are intended to satisfy the requirements of the EU and UK competition law rules affecting “vertical restraints”. They are drafted on the assumption that the supplier’s share of the market on which it supplies the relevant goods or services does not exceed 30%; the purchaser’s share of the market on which it buys those goods or services does not exceed 30%, and the distributor does not compete with the supplier in the production or manufacture of the products covered by the distribution agreement.

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the provision of legal services accessible and transparent for people and businesses alike.

We provide affordable and transparent diverse online legal services on a fixed fee basis. Our services include: