What exactly makes a legal document legal? And other FAQs

Read all about what a legal document is, what makes it legal, and how to cite a legal document right here in this blog post.

July 13, 2021

What exactly makes a legal document legal? And other FAQs

Read all about what a legal document is, what makes it legal, and how to cite a legal document right here in this blog post.

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What exactly makes a legal document legal? And other FAQs

The world of law is largely enforced by the legal documents within it. Contracts and agreements are legal documents that can help protect the rights of the parties involved. However, any legal document, to a person without a law degree, can be an intimidating thing. 

Don’t panic, you’re not alone. We’re here to help. 

We really do not believe that contracts, agreements and other legal documents should be as terrifying as many find. The law should not be an elitist place as it was, arguably, not put in place to support just the elite. So we are here to answer the most basic questions you were too embarrassed to ask.  

So if you are looking to know what exactly is a legal document, you have come to the right place. Or, if you want to know why a contract is deemed legally binding or what do you need to include in an agreement for it to be legal, you’ll be happy to know we’ve answered that without any elitist jargon too - and anything else that you need to know about legal documents.  

What is a legal document? 

So let’s really get back to basics to put everyone reading this on a level playing field. A simple definition of a legal document would be a document that states some form of contractual relationship or grants some right within its clauses and wording. Good examples of legal documents would be an affidavit, assignment of partnership interest, minutes of shareholders’ meetings, a mortgage agreement or a medical power of attorney - amongst many many others

What makes a document legal?

Asking what makes a document legal is such a fair question. For, what really makes one document more legal than another and what makes it legally binding for the parties involved? 

Firstly, for a legal document to be legal, it must have an agreement. An agreement will, in practice, mean that there is an offer made by one party to the other. The other party needs to accept that offer. What the offer is does not really matter, but the acceptance must be done freely and without any fraudulent behavior. 

What is a legal document that outlines all of the conditions of a bond?

This is a fairly specific question, but it is a good one as it can clear up some confusion surrounding the world of bonds - an already confusing enough financial product that many invest in. A legal document that outlines all of the conditions of a bond is known as a bond indenture. It is the legal contract between the bondholder and the bond issuer. In short, it lets you know how much money you will receive, and when.

It will delineate all the important terms and conditions with regards to the bond. That will mean the maturity date of the bond - or the date on which the bond issuer needs to pay back the original bond price. The indenture will also outline the coupon payment - both in terms of how much, or the interest rate charged, as well as the structure. Not all bonds pay on a monthly or annual basis. Some may pay all interest at once at the bond’s maturity. 

Other basic information should also be included like the bond issuer’s name and details, as well as the bond holder’s details too. 

How to cite a legal document

The need to cite a legal document is often required by lawyers in their own legal cases as well as other legal documents that are created for various reasons. A legal citation is a reference to a legal document - which could mean a law review article, a statute or a case. To do so, a legal citation needs to name the title of the document in question, an abbreviation of the legal series as well as the date. 

What does SS mean in a legal document? 

SS often appears in a number of legal documents like a record, an affidavit or a notarial certificate. It is short for the word scilicet which is a Latin term. For those that love language, when the term is broken down it means to know (scire) and it is permitted (licet). When used in a legal document as the abbreviation SS, it is often said as ‘to wit’. In practice this means something closer to ‘in particular’ or ‘namely’. SS is often used as the statement of venue.  

Legal document overall takeaways 

So now we have answered all the frequently asked questions when it comes to the world of legal documents, how else can we support you? Well, Contractbook can help in the creation of legal documents through providing legal document templates as well as an effective means of legal document management. Legal documents are so much more than a document from which to apportion blame and gain financial remuneration should you be wronged. 

While that most definitely is something that legal documents can support, a legal document can also be a huge asset to a company. When used properly, a legal document like a contract can help forge better relationships and partnerships between two entities. When a legal document is properly prepared with respect for all involved parties, the result is a document from which both parties gain both protection but also positive benefits. Both sides know where they stand from the outset and what is required of them. 

And, not to sing our own praises too much, but our legal document management system is a far more dynamic way of storing documents than the traditional filing cabinet. Instead, our system allows documents not only to be found easily, but used easily. Data can be derived from them quickly and put to use elsewhere to optimum effect - be that creating another contract or triggering an event. Contracts and legal documents, therefore, become a dynamic entity that can automate procedures and minimize legal disputes in the future.

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