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In California individuals are able to prepare documents for the general public as long as they go through the correct registration and bonding process and do not provide legal advice.  Any service that allows consumers a low cost option to meeting their legal needs is one that should be considered but, the ramifications should also be addressed in order to protect the public.  According to the law that regulates legal document assistants they cannot select or suggest what document the consumer should use for their situation.  This does not pose an issue to a savvy consumer who already knows what form to use and just needs someone to provide and complete the document for them but, what happens when a person is in a dire situation or does not know what document to use.  They go to a legal document assistant who then provides a list of documents(s), information about the documents(s) and the person selects what they believe to be the correct one.  The potential for an individual selecting the incorrect document is not a far-fetched notion.

Another situation to consider is when the person really needs legal advice but is trying to save money and goes to a legal document assistant.  If the person is just trying to transfer their pet Toto into a trust this may not pose a serious issue but, when a person is in a bankruptcy where their livelihood is at stake or a divorce with an abusive spouse this has serious ramifications.  People in these situations need more than a box checked on a few forms.   The situation of when a legal document assistant must turn away a consumer should be seriously addressed.  Some may argue that this is not necessary since it is a consumers right to determine what service they should be able to pay for but, the IRS did not agree with this argument when they started implementing steps to stop rapid refunds.  One of the premises behind their decision was that it was a burden on low-income taxpayers.  The fact that the people that they were trying to protect were willing to pay for this service was not at issue.

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