Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five Things to Ask Your Document Preparer

Are you a member of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers?

FALDP, the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers is a statewide trade association specifically for Florida's nonlawyer document preparers? Membership is limited to those who meet standards set by the association and agree to abide by the terms of the FALDP Pledge. Visit to learn more.

Do you use Florida Supreme Court approved forms?

Florida document preparers should use Florida Supreme Court approved forms whenever they are available. Almost all of the family law forms and landlord/ tenant forms are Supreme Court approved. For other types of document preparation projects, such as bankruptcy and immigration -- there are no Florida Supreme Court approved forms available - your document preparer will use the federal forms for these projects.

Do you provide all the forms that I need for my document preparation project?

Sometimes it isn't clear exactly what will be needed after the initial paper work, but it is important to know whether additional forms will be provided. For example, your document preparer cannot know ahead of time whether or not the other party will answer a petition or complaint. The next step may depend on the actions of the other party. However, it is important to ask whether your document preparer will prepare additional forms if needed, whether those additional forms are included in the initial cost, and if not, how much the cost will be. For example, if the other party is properly served but doesn't answer, your document preparer can prepare a Motion and Order for Default. Some document preparers will include those documents at no extra charge; other document preparers may charge a nominal fee. Ask.

What if the clerk says I need a certain document, and you didn't provide it, will you prepare it if I need it?

Good question. Sometimes local rules change, and your document preparer may not be aware of all local rules. Most reputable document preparers will provide and prepare a local form at no additional charge.

What if there are errors in the documents?

Most document preparers will correct errors at no additional charge, even if the error was not their fault. For example, a misspelled street name that was the customer's mistake. Many document preparers will also make minor revisions at no charge.

How do I check to make sure a document preparer is reputable?

Florida document preparers are not regulated by the State of Florida or the Florida Bar. You can search Rip Off Report, and the document preparer's local Better Business Bureau. These are not 100% accurate, but may give you an overall idea about that document preparer's reputation. Many document preparers are members of the Florida Association of Legal Document Preparers, and you can find out more about a certain document preparer by visiting the site - - or calling and asking about them - 800-515-0496.

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