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7 Common Legal Documents Explained

There are hundreds – if not thousands – of different types of legal documents. Many are quite self-explanatory such as a tenancy agreement or employment contract. Others are not so easy to work out from their name but are still common and worth knowing about. This post provides a definition for some of these latter terms.


A will determines how someone’s funds and property are distributed after their death. Fail to leave behind a will, and the fate of your assets will be chosen for you according to the laws of intestacy – which could mean that money of possessions goes to the wrong people.

For a will to be legally binding, it is often worth hiring an estate lawyer. They can make sure that the right terminology is used and that important elements like signatures are included. 

Power of attorney

A power of attorney is a written document that gives a person the authority to make decisions on another person’s behalf. It is typically necessary if a loved one’s health declines and they can no longer make decisions themselves. A power of attorney can have control over a loved one’s finances or may have the ability to make healthcare decisions. An estate lawyer can help you to write this document.


The most common time you’ll encounter a deed is when buying or selling a home. A deed is a document that provides written evidence that a person is the owner of a property. Within a deed you will find an outline of certain rights you may have as the property owner. A lawyer known as a conveyancer can help make amendments to a deed if necessary (such as when transferring ownership of a home).


An affidavit is a written document that proves a statement to be true in court. They are typically used to support witness statements, helping to confirm a person’s story in writing. Affidavits are used in various areas of law ranging from family law to bankruptcy. A lawyer can help you to write this document so that it is legally binding.


A prenuptial agreement (typically referred to as a prenup) is typically written before a couple gets married. It helps to predetermine how assets will be divided if that couple divorces. Many couples do not think a prenup is necessary, but for others, it can provide peace of mind that assets will be divided fairly if a relationship doesn’t work out. A solicitor that specializes in family law can help you write a prenup. 

Intellectual property

Intellectual property contracts help to provide user rights over creations and ideas. They include trademarks (for logos and brand names), patents (for inventions), copyright (for literary and artistic works), and trade secrets (for recipes or designs).

Many businesses can benefit from taking out intellectual property contracts – without them, it is easier for others to steal ideas without having to pay compensation. An IP lawyer can help when creating these contracts.

Privacy policy

Privacy policies are commonly found on websites and are used to outline how an organization uses the data of clients/visitors. Without a privacy policy in place, you could be fined by the government or sued by customers who want control over their data usage. Lawyers can help you to write a privacy policy if it is needed.

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