Completing DIY legal forms/kits can save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees. We offer do-it-yourself legal forms for filing documents in the State of Washington. But we also offer a long list of attorneys in Washington state who can handle your legal matters. Why
A lawsuit filed by the Rental Housing Association against capping move-in fees in Seattle is just the latest to cause friction between tenant rights and landlord rights. No matter which side of the law you fall on regarding the new requirement that landlords must offer
Tis the season for weddings, and thus, strange prenups! If you’re about to tie the knot or know someone who is, check out these strange-but-true prenups. They read like a book of tales! Once you read these, you’re either bound to feel better about your
Tis the season for spring cleaning! No, we’re not talking about washing your windows or scouring the floors. We’re suggesting you do a spring cleaning of all things legal. We think spring cleaning is the perfect time to review your paperwork and find ways to
No one wants to think about end of life issues. But right now is the time to jump into estate planning to make it easier on your family and loved ones in the event of your death. By engaging in estate planning now, you also
Completing DIY legal forms/kits can save you thousands of dollars in attorney fees. We offer do-it-yourself legal forms for filing documents in the State of Washington. But we also offer a long list of attorneys in Washington state who can handle your legal matters. Why do we offer both?
Some situations require an experienced attorney who knows how to handle your situation, knows how to work the courts and can get the job done accurately. Otherwise, mistakes could be made that cause even bigger problems down the road.
But there are times when you can likely fill out and file DIY legal forms/kits on your own. Here are some of the advantages of using DIY legal forms/kits to solve a legal issue:
Save legal fees.
If you cannot afford to pay an attorney hundreds or even thousand of dollars or want to save $$, paying a modest fee for a form you fill in and file yourself can help keep your budget intact. Another option is to find free legal resources such as those mentioned in our recent blog post about resources available for civil legal problems in Washington state.
Handle matters faster.
Sometimes you need to act fast. Completing the form yourself can save time since you won’t need to wait for an attorney to find a spot in their schedule to meet with you and then handle the project.
Reduce an attorney’s time.
Filling out a legal form ahead of your meeting with an attorney could save you hours of the their billable time, resulting in a huge cost savings. If you feel unsure about how you filled out the form, always rely on an attorney’s expertise to finalize the job–you’ll still save money and have the satisfaction of knowing your forms are correct.
Helps you get organized.
Even if you plan to meet with an attorney, filling out the forms to the best of your abilities ahead of the meeting helps you organize your thoughts about your legal matter. You may also discover you need to bring other documents to the meeting with your attorney. This saves time having to send them separately or setting up another meeting to deliver everything.
Sometimes hiring an attorney is overkill.
Simple tasks such as filling in a straightforward will, power of attorney, health care directive or eviction notice requires little to no legal experience. If you find yourself questioning the form, though, consulting an attorney makes sense.
Download current forms from trusted websites.
One of the advantages of using our do-it-yourself legal kits and forms is because they’re up-to-date with current requirements mandated by Washington state judicial authorities. We stay on top of that, in part, thanks to our office located in the King County Court House in Seattle.
Our forms are available as instant downloads so you can start using them immediately. Or you can also order a printed version, and we’ll mail it to you within one to two business days. Visit doityourselflegalkits.com to see a list of available kits.
A lawsuit filed by the Rental Housing Association against capping move-in fees in Seattle is just the latest to cause friction between tenant rights and landlord rights. No matter which side of the law you fall on regarding the new requirement that landlords must offer installment plans to allow tenants to pay deposits and other fees, both renters and landlords have rights. Understanding what you can and cannot do, whether you’re renting your abode or leasing it to someone, starts knowing and protecting your rights.
Resources For Landlords
Becoming a landlord, whether you have a single rental unit or several buildings of units, requires knowing the laws in the Residential Landlord-Tenant Act. A simplified version is also provided as a free download by the Washington State Bar Association.
If your rentals are located in Seattle, you must also become familiar with the codes outlined by the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections. (SDCI). Local building ordinances may also apply, so check with the city in which the rental is located.
While tenants have rights, they are also expected to fulfill certain obligations. Get more information by downloading the free Code Compliance Guidelines provided by the SDCI. This document also outlines the records a property owner should keep to support a termination of a tenant. You’ll also get a list of groups that can provide information to rental property owners.
You may want to consider joining the Rental Housing Association. According to a recent KOMO News article, this organization represents 5,400 rental housing landlords across Washington state. Of those members, 4,000 own units in Seattle with 88 percent owning less than four rental units.
If you need to evict a tenant, we offer a do-it-yourself Eviction Notice, available for purchase by visiting Do It Yourself Legal Kits. If you need to hire an attorney to help you with a tenant problem, see our list of law firms.
Resources For Tenants
Start by reading our blog post about the rights of tenants in Washington state. Washington Law Help also provides low-income individuals with legal problems related to tenant rights. Download their free publication titled Your Rights As a Tenant in Washington State. The Washington State Bar Association also offers a condensed version.
You can also review the Washington State Legislature’s Residential Landlord Tenant Act to read the law on a variety of topics, including:
- how much time your landlord has to remedy problems, such as a lack of water, electricity or heat
- non-refundable fees that are not part of a deposit
- your landlord’s rights to enter the rental
- month-to-month leases
The City of Settle Department of Planning and Development offers a useful guide you can print, complete and give to your building manager to report items needing repair. Click here to view the form.
Download Seattle Laws on Property Owner and Tenant’s Rights and Responsibilities. The last few pages of this document include a list of groups that can help you with tenant rights. For instance, Neighborhood Legal Clinics are mentioned as a resource for a free legal consultation. This organization helps people with civil matters only. Read our blog post for more information about Neighborhood Legal Clinics.
Check out the Tenants Union of Washington, a public service based in Seattle that helps with tenant rights. According to their Facebook page, they help improve tenants’ living conditions and fight unjust housing policies.
If you need to hire an attorney to help you with a landlord problem, see our list of law firms.
Tis the season for weddings, and thus, strange prenups! If you’re about to tie the knot or know someone who is, check out these strange-but-true prenups. They read like a book of tales!
Once you read these, you’re either bound to feel better about your impending marriage, or you’ll likely feel inclined to head directly to your attorney to draft your own prenuptial agreement. If not, we offer a do-it-yourself-legal-kit for prenups. We’ve also got attorneys who can help, just click here.
Nowadays, no prenuptial agreement is complete without details on how social media will be handled if the marriage fails. What you can and cannot post online is pretty important in some marriages, with clauses about social media on the rise, according to Time. Post something you’re not supposed to when divorce looms large, and you could pay big $$ for that unflattering Tweet.
According to MyWedding.com, infidelity can pay off big, such as in the case for Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards. Sounds like a get-rich-quick scheme, but their prenup stated that if either cheated, the other stood to gain $4 million buckaroos. Hmmmm. Wonder how that one ended?! Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel also have this clause in their prenup, according to Men’s Health.
The Longer the Marriage…
Some strange prenups include clauses in which one person gets a sum of money for each year the marriage stays in effect. This is the case for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. Zeta-Jones stands to make several million per year of the marriage – 13 years of wedded bliss when they were considering divorce in 2013, according to The Daily Mail.com. We bet Douglas was feeling pretty nervous when the couple separated!
Prenups can include limitations on everything from how many hours TV watching is allowed to how often the in-laws can visit (no, we’re not kidding, check out this article from Men’s Health). Sex is another big issue, so there are strange prenups that lay out how many times per week or month are required. Celebrity Dirt says Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo would have had a prenup that said she couldn’t weigh over 135 pounds, or Romo would have gotten cash for every pound over. Maybe it’s a good thing they never got married in the first place, huh?!
Tis the season for spring cleaning! No, we’re not talking about washing your windows or scouring the floors. We’re suggesting you do a spring cleaning of all things legal.
We think spring cleaning is the perfect time to review your paperwork and find ways to organize your most important legal documents. That way, even if you don’t get the closet cleaned out or walls scrubbed down, at least you know everything is in order when it comes to important paperwork!
Nothing beats April 15th for striking fear in the hearts of taxpayers around the country. Most people can get by doing their taxes themselves or through an accounting firm. But if you run into trouble with the IRS, it might be time to hire an attorney who specializes in tax concerns. See our Taxation Lawyer referral list for information on who to call.
Have you written a will yet? How about designating a Power of Attorney to handle your affairs if you become unable to do so? Spring cleaning is the perfect time to get everything in order, including designating an executor to handle your estate. Don’t forget – if you have children or dependents, consider choosing a legal guardian to protect them. We offer a variety of legal forms good in Washington State that you can download and fill in yourself to get these documents ready. While you’re at it, consider giving your estate plan a review by an experienced estate attorney. For more ideas on estate planning, including a link to a free downloadable checklist, click here to read our recent blog post.
Do you have all of your insurance documents in an easily accessible file in your office or on a computer? Spring cleaning is the perfect time to gather and review your insurance policies so you can avoid trouble down the road in the event you have a claim. Take a look at your auto and homeowner’s insurance policies to make sure they’re up-to-date. Do you have insurance for the contents of your home, whether you own or rent one? Review your contents insurance to make sure you have enough coverage for collectibles, too. Make sure you’re not over paying or under covered because you haven’t valued your assets properly. Need an attorney to handle an accident or injury case? Check out our list of attorneys to find one to handle your problem.
Meet and Greet A Lawyer
Springtime is a great time to find an attorney who can work with your family or your business to handle any potential legal matters that pop up. Don’t wait until you have a crisis on your hands and must hire the first attorney you call. Instead, using the spring to find a law firm that handles the types of problems you could experience down the road could pay off big. To find a suitable lawyer or firm, make an appointment to meet with several different ones to see how you work together. See our recent blog post about questions to ask a potential attorney or law firm before you hire them.
No one wants to think about end of life issues. But right now is the time to jump into estate planning to make it easier on your family and loved ones in the event of your death. By engaging in estate planning now, you also have control of what happens to your property and other possessions so they are disbursed according to your wishes. Get started with these five estate planning tasks.
Write a Will
Without a will, you allow the state to call all the shots about how your estate is divided up when you die. If you still have dependents, the state also decides what will happen to them. Having a will alleviates these problems. We offer a do-it-yourself will kit for Washington state, complete with instructions, for those who have simple wishes for their estate. Choose from an instant download or request a print verson be mailed to you. We can also help get your will notarized at our office located in the King County Courthouse office. If you have more complex needs, hire a probate attorney. Click here to view the list of probate and estate planning law firms listed in our referral service.
Designate a Power of Attorney for Finances/Legal/Health Care
In Washington state, in the event that you are not available or incapable of acting on your own behalf or if you need health care decisions made for you, a General and Durable Power of Attorney with health care provisions, designating someone to make these decisions on your behalf is an essential document in your estate planning. The person you choose can be an attorney, a family member or a close friend who you trust to make decisions on your behalf. Since this form can be easily completed on your own, we offer a do-it-yourself General and Durable Power of Attorney legal kit for Washington statey, available as an instant download or as a print version. Always seek the advice of an attorney if you need help completing the forms.
Choose Health Care Directive
You also need a Health Care Directive (Directive to Physicians/Living Will) to instruct your physician and/or health care providers on your intentions as to organ donation and whether or not you want extra-ordinary life sustaining care such as feeding and breathing if your are in a terminal condition. This legal form can be easily completed on your own, so we offer a do-it-yourself Health Care Directive (Directive to Physicians/Living Will) legal kit for Washington state, available as an instant download or as a print version. If you spend part of your time living in another state, make sure you have a Health Care Power of Attorney for that state, too. Always seek the advice of an estate planning attorney if you need help completing the forms. Click here to view our list of probate and estate planning law firms listed in our referral service.
Gather Estate Planning Documents
Your family and attorney need to know the whereabouts of your important paperwork, such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, property deeds, life insurance policies, contact lists and financial information. Otherwise, if they must search your entire home or arrange to get copies of these important documents, it could take them months to close your estate. Paäge et Cie, experts at organizing and managing important documents, has created a checklist you can download for free. The checklist provides a thorough list of all of the documents you need and includes space for keeping notes about the location of each piece of paperwork.
Choose an Executor
An executor, also known as an administrator, settles the debts you leave behind and disburses your property and possessions according to your will. An attorney can act as your executor while also helping with various aspects of your estate before you die, including writing wills, helping you set up a power of attorney and safekeeping important documents needed to settle your estate. Click here to view the list of estate planning law firms we work with. See our recent blog post, Questions to Ask A Potential Attorney or Law Firm Before You Hire Them.
Storing boxes of legal files in offsite storage facilities sounds like a good idea, right? After all, that’s how it’s been done for decades. Savvy law firms are discovering a far more efficient way to secure record management–– they know document scanning allows them to easily retrieve files at a moment’s notice.
While you could say, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” the truth is you’re missing out of a slew of advantages digital documents offer if you still store boxes of documents offsite. We’re talking time, resources and $$ saving benefits you don’t get with conventional storage methods. Here are our top seven reasons for making the switch to scanning:
Eliminate Costs of Records Storage
According to an independent analysis conducted by Legal IT Professionals, an online magazine dedicated to legal technology news, it costs $57.52 to prepare, pack, pick-up, and store one box of files when you send it to an off-site storage facility. Those document storage fees sound reasonable… until you realize they do not include the cost, time and labor of your staff and/or the storage facility to locate and retrieve the box, then return it to the storage facility when you’re done.
No More Lost Documents
No firm wants to be part of the mind-boggling statistic saying 7.5% of all paper documents are lost forever. In a legal firm, that’s practically a crime. Document imaging eliminates this problem. Need we say more?
The biggest benefit of document scanning is instant access. Just imagine – it’s the middle of the night or a long holiday weekend. You need a file, but obtaining storage boxes of files from a facility requires emergency retrieval, adding to the already high cost of the service. On the other hand, once your documents are scanned, there are no future costs. Instead, simply insert the thumb drive or disk containing all of your documents into your computer or upload the documents to your network if your staff needs access, and bingo! You’ve got immediate access with no waiting around. You can even upload the documents to the cloud for access from any computer/laptop with an Internet connection.
Meet Disaster Recovery Goals
The elephant in the room no one wants to talk about is disaster recovery of your files if fire or a natural disaster occurs. If you store your files onsite, you could be facing a huge problem. But with document scanning, you can store the data in the cloud for access from anywhere at anytime, including right after a fire, flood, earthquake or other natural disaster. We recommend keeping multiple copies of the disks or thumb drives in different locations since the devices take so little storage space. Keep one at your home, one in the office and another in your safety deposit box so you keep downtime after a disaster to a minimum.
Avoid Waiting Until Records Are Inactive
Document scanning simplifies the work involved on current cases, too. Rather than searching through hundreds or thousands of pieces of paper, simply review the digital index for that case and access the document immediately. This provides flexibility to work on the case without having to carry heavy boxes of files home or frantically searching for that one file before you can leave the office.
Local and Low Cost in Seattle, Washington
AIB is a locally owned business in Seattle, so it’s easy for us to handle your document scanning needs. We don’t have account managers who lose track of what’s going on with your project. Plus, we don’t have the high overhead costs of nationwide marketing or miles of shelving space to store all of those boxes. So, we pass that cost savings to you. Typically, our clients save up to 40% of the costs the large, impersonal storage facilities charge for similar services.
One-Stop Doc Scan Service
Our clients love the ease of our document scanning services. We handle the job from start to finish, including retrieving the boxes of files, scanning all documents, indexing the contents, providing a device with all of your files on it and destruction of your files, if you so choose. Add the scanned documents to your server for multiple people to work on, or you can work directly from the device we provide to instantly access the documents you need.
Here’s what our clients say about our scanning services:
We think being proactive about paper storage is the wave of the future, and there’s just no need to store hard copies of documents when there’s a more efficient way. That’s why relying on AIB’s digital scanning services was a smart move and a good investment for us. They’re reliable, and it saves storage costs. Without scanned files, it could take a week to 10 days to get a file. Now, we instantly access the files from the thumb drive AIB provides to us. Plus, their friendly and approachable manner makes it easy to work with them.
Carey & Lillevik Attorneys at Law
AIB’s scanning services are great! They pick up our boxes about once a year and return with a thumb drive containing all of our files. Everything is organized the way I want it. I upload the scanned files to our secure server, and anyone in the office can instantly retrieve any document. We could do the scanning ourselves, but this way, our staff isn’t tied up at the copier all day. Plus, because of AIB’s custom interface, I can just search for the client’s name or narrow down the results based upon customized criteria that I set up with AIB. I don’t even have to leave my desk to access the files. Otherwise, to get files out of storage, someone has to drive there, search for the files in a room with one light bulb, and then bring the file back. Now, I just click on an icon, and instantly, I’ve got access.
Linn Schisel & DeMarco
It’s exciting to find a company that’s as easy to communicate with as AIB. When I use them to document and scan my medical records, I feel valued as a customer. When they were scanning my files, I had a patient request a record. AIB was quick to pull that information, put it on a disk and get it to me so I could hand it to my patient in a timely manner. They’re friendly and very professional. That’s rare today when most businesses rely on a robo phone to do business.
Afia Menke, ND
Representing yourself or a family member in a civil court can be an overwhelming challenge. First, you must understand the complexities of your legal issue and any related legalities, such as courtroom procedures and filing documents. The problem is that a lack of knowledge about what’s involved means your civil case could turn into a drastic event, such as losing your home or custody of your children.
Fortunately, the following resources are available to low-income people in Washington state to help get civil cases resolved.
Northwest Justice Project
The Northwest Justice Project offers free legal assistance to low-income people. The organization also provides self-help resources and free legal information as well as attorney advice and assistance. They also offer a Foreclosure Prevention Unit to help people who face home foreclosure. If you live in King County, visit this page to get contact information. Otherwise, if you live outside of King County, visit the CLEAR Hotline website page or call 1-888-201-1014.
Washington Web Lawyer
This online resource provides free legal advice to low-income people with civil legal problems. Volunteer attorneys provide the legal advice to those who post their questions in the website’s forum. Simply register as a new user and answer some questions about yourself, your income and legal issue to see if you qualify for the free help. If so, you’ll set up an account, then post your questions so one of the volunteer attorneys can answer. Click here to learn more.
Housing Justice Project
Many counties in Washington have set up homelessness prevention programs to offer volunteer-based legal services for tenants facing eviction. Click on one of the counties listed below to get more information about available programs:
Volunteer Lawyer Program
Columbia Legal Services
This not-for-profit organization focuses on providing civil legal services to low-income people or those with special legal needs. Columbia Legal Services provides legal education, advice and representation to help enforce your legal rights. The group also has special programs for migrant and seasonal farm workers, residents of long-term care, Native Americans and victims of domestic violence. Visit their website for more information.
Document scanning is a lasting trend for good reason. After all, you know how cumbersome it gets when you keep piles or filing cabinets full of paperwork around. Storing years of paperwork in bulky files for each client is a thing of the past once you discover the wonders of using scanned documents.
AIB has been offering document scanning services for years, and our clients love the service. While you can read some of the testimonials we’ve received by clicking here (scroll down to “What Clients Say”), we really want this piece to stand on its own as an argument for the importance of scanning.
- Save space and eliminate clutter. If you’re like most home or business offices, space is at a premium. Document scanning reduces those mounds of paperwork into digital files, with thousands of scanned files fitting on a single small disc or drive. Plus, you can get rid of those ugly piles of files sitting on top of desks and filing cabinets, which helps reduce visible clutter. You’ll discover you have less need for those hefty, unwieldy filing cabinets, too. Those monstrosities are likely costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars annually by taking up valuable space.
- Find important documents faster. Rather than searching through multiple hard copy files to find that one critical document, scanning allows you to review an index of files. You then click on that file and it immediately pops up on your screen.
- Eliminate the risk of lost documents. Rather than taking the risk of losing important files and documents, scanning eliminates misplaced files you may never find again.
- Defy age, wear and tear. Paperwork becomes fragile over time. Document scanning helps preserve the integrity of the original documents so fading and tears won’t affect your ability to read and use the documents in the future.
- Include scanning in your disaster recovery plan. Fire, earthquakes, floods and other delights of Mother Nature could cause you to lose valuable documents that are irreplaceable. That’s the beauty of scanned images – you can store multiple copies of the disks or drives. Keep one in your safe deposit box and store others in various safe locations around your home and office.
- Share files more quickly, easily and inexpensively. Scanned documents are far easier to share with your family members, trusted advisors and office personnel. Upload the scans to a your corporate server, and now you can share the files with clients or staff in multiple offices. Not only can you share information immediately, but using scanned documents saves $$ compared to the manpower/expense of copying, mailing and delivery of hard copies.
- Reuse rather than recreate. Did you know documents are recreated 50% of the time rather than reused? Scanning helps eliminate this major waste of resources, helping to improve your bottom line while saving valuable time.
To learn more about AIB’s scanning services for businesses of any type, click here.
Are you searching for an attorney or hiring a law firm? Whether you need an attorney immediately or want to have one on standby, hiring a law firm that will work best for you requires some thought. Print this list of questions, and take it with you to meetings with potential law firms. Also, visit our attorney referral service to find a law firm that offers a free session, giving you a chance to get all of your questions answered before hiring a law firm to have on call.
- What is your experience with this type of case? Ask for details about previous cases the attorney has handled to get a feel for their experience.
- Have you worked in the courthouse where my case will be tried? If so, the attorney is more likely to have dealt with the judges and prosecutors and should have a clearer idea of what could happen.
- Can I get references to satisfied clients so I can call them and find out what they thought of your services? If the attorney balks at providing references you can call, ask for testimonials to review. If these are also not available, be wary.
- How much will this cost me? When hiring a law firm, ask them about fees and expenses if you have a specific case you want to bring them. Find out whether the attorney will charge an hourly rate or a fixed rate. Ask about contingency fees involved in cases where you’re suing for money. Request information about expenses, too, such as for photocopies, filings, etc., as these can add up.
- Are you familiar with the court system in this area? Ask the attorney if she practices in the specific courthouse where your case will be conducted. An attorney who has experience with the judges or prosecutors who preside over your case can make it easier to determine the outcome.
Have you heard of Neighborhood Legal Clinics? If not, you may be missing out on a great resource if you live in King County, Washington.
These free clinics, sponsored by the King County Bar Association, provide limited legal advice as well as referrals for residents of the county. If you have a legal issue in King County but do NOT live in the county, you can still participate in one of the free clinics.
The clinics consist of 30-minute sessions during which time you meet with an attorney for legal advice on civil legal issues. You can get help with papers you’ve received from the court. Referrals and additional resources are also provided, if needed.
According to their website, the clinics do NOT provide advice on criminal legal issues, just civil issues.
Clinics are also offered on a variety of specialized topics, such as bankruptcy, elder law, family law, cross cultural family law and domestic violence. You can also sign up for clinics in various languages, including Spanish, Korean, etc.
Visit this link to make an appointment and to find out when the next Neighborhood Legal Clinic will be held near you.