101 Law Forms for Personal Use
101 Law Forms for Personal Use
Editors of Nolo
September 2016, 10th Edition
Reliable legal forms for common personal and family transactions
At one time or another, we all need to get an agreement in writing. But where to start? 101 Law Forms for Personal Use makes it easy to create legal agreements and organize essential information. The plain-English instructions will help you:
Sell personal property: All the agreements you need to sell a motor vehicle, boat or other valuable property.
Delegate authority: Create temporary guardianship of a child, pet care agreements, limited powers of attorney and other essential documents.
Plan your estate: Make a simple will and use worksheets to track beneficiaries and assets.
Rent out a place to live: Use the rental application, move-in letter, checklist, notice of needed repairs and other forms.
Borrow or lend money: Prepare a solid legal contract (promissory note). Included are five forms—one for every common borrowing/lending situation.
Buy a house: Run the numbers with a financial statement, and then use the house comparison worksheet, moving checklist and other forms.
101 Law Forms for Personal Use can also help you:
- settle legal disputes
- handle personal finances
- hire household help
- deal with junk mail and telemarketers,
- and much more.
This new edition is completely updated for accuracy and ease of use, including reviewed and updated forms, instructions and resources.
"If you've ever pondered such intricacies as how to get your name off a telemarketer's list, or how to formally outline your housekeeper's responsibilities, check out 101 Law Forms for Personal Use, which provides legal forms in plain English."
-U.S. News & World Report
“Whether you’re hiring child care, borrowing money or telling off telemarketers, these forms are all you’ll need to get the job done.”-Laurel Pallock, San Francisco District Attorney's Office (Ret.)
“Get it in writing’ is as fundamental as consumer advice gets. 101 Law Forms for Personal Use makes it easy for consumers to follow this principle.”-Orlando Sentinel
- Temporary Guardianship Authorization for Care of Minor
- Authorization for Minor’s Medical Treatment
- Authorization for Foreign Travel With Minor
- House Sitting Instructions
- Children’s Carpool Agreement
- Pet Care Agreement
- Authorization to Drive a Motor Vehicle
- Power of Attorney for Finances (Limited Power)
- New York Power of Attorney for Finances
- Power of Attorney for Real Estate
- New York Power of Attorney for Real Estate
- Notice of Revocation of Power of Attorney
- Property Worksheet
- Beneficiary Worksheet
- Will for Adult With No Children
- Will for Adult With Child(ren)
- Will Codicil
- Request for Death Certificate
- Notice to Creditor of Death
- Executor’s Checklist
- General Notice of Death
- Obituary Information Fact Sheet
- Notice to Deceased’s Homeowners’ Insurance Company
- Notice to Deceased’s Vehicle Insurance Company
- Rental Application
- Tenant References
- Landlord-Tenant Checklist
- Move-In Letter
- Notice of Needed Repairs
- Semiannual Safety and Maintenance Update
- Landlord-Tenant Agreement to Terminate Lease
- Consent to Assignment of Lease
- Tenant’s Notice of Intent to Move Out
- Demand for Return of Security Deposit
- Loan Comparison Worksheet
- Authorization to Check Credit and Employment References
- Monthly Payment Record
- Promissory Note—Installment Payments With Interest
- Promissory Note—Installment Payments With Interest and Balloon Payment
- Promissory Note—Installment Payments Without Interest
- Promissory Note—Lump Sum Payment With Interest
- Promissory Note—Lump Sum Payment Without Interest
- Cosigner Provision
- Security Agreement Provision for Promissory Note
- Security Agreement for Borrowing Money
- U.C.C. Financing Statement
- Release of U.C.C. Financing Statement
- Agreement to Modify Promissory Note
- Overdue Payment Demand
- Demand to Make Good on Bad Check
- Ideal House Profile
- House Priorities Worksheet
- House Comparison Worksheet
- Family Financial Statement
- Monthly Carrying Costs Worksheet
- Mortgage Rates and Terms Worksheet
- Moving Checklist
- Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Boat Bill of Sale
- General Bill of Sale
- Bill of Sale for Dog
- Personal Property Rental Agreement
- Notice of Termination of Personal Property Rental Agreement
- Storage Contract
- Home Maintenance Agreement
- Home Repairs Agreement
- Contractor Mid-Job Worksheet
- Daily Expenses
- Monthly Income
- Monthly Budget
- Statement of Assets and Liabilities
- Assignment of Rights
- Notice to Terminate Joint Account
- Notice to Stop Payment of Check
- Request for Credit Report
- Request Reinvestigation of Credit Report Entry
- Dispute Credit Card Charge
- Demand Collection Agency Cease Contact
- Telemarketing Phone Call Log
- Notice to Put Name on Company’s “Do Not Call” List
- Demand for Damages for Excessive Calls
- Notice to Add or Retain Name but Not Sell or Trade It
- Child Care Agreement
- Child Care Instructions
- Elder Care Agreement
- Housekeeping Services Agreement
- Agreement to Keep Property Separate
- Agreement for a Joint Purchase
- Agreement to Share Property
- Declaration of Legal Name Change
- Demand Letter
- Online Auction Buyer Demand Letter
- Request for Refund or Repair of Goods Under Warranty
- Accident Claim Worksheet
- General Release
- General Mutual Release
- Release for Damage to Real Estate
- Release for Property Damage in Auto Accident
- Release for Personal Injury
- Mutual Release of Contract Claims
- Complaint Letter
- Notice of Insurance Claim
- Notice to Cancel Certain Contracts
- Cancel Membership or Subscription Notice
- Request to Begin Special Education Process
- Identity Theft Worksheet
Table of Contents
How to Use This Book
- Filling in the Contracts and Forms
- Editing the Forms
- Describing People, Property, and Events
- Signing the Forms
- Resolving Disputes
- Do You Need a Lawyer?
1. Delegating Authority to Care for Children, Pets, and Property
- Form 1: Temporary Guardianship Authorization for Care of Minor
- Form 2: Authorization for Minor’s Medical Treatment
- Form 3: Authorization for Foreign Travel With Minor
- Form 4: House Sitting Instructions
- Form 5: Children’s Carpool Agreement
- Form 6: Pet Care Agreement
- Form 7: Authorization to Drive a Motor Vehicle
- Form 8: Power of Attorney for Finances (Limited Power)
- Form 9: Power of Attorney for Real Estate
- Form 10: Notice of Revocation of Power of Attorney
2. Basic Estate Planning
- Form 11: Property Worksheet
- Form 12: Beneficiary Worksheet
- Forms 13 and 14: Basic Wills
- Form 15: Will Codicil
3. Things to Do After a Death: Documents for Executors
- Form 16: Request for Death Certificate
- Form 17: Notice to Creditor of Death
- Form 18: Executor’s Checklist
- Form 19: General Notice of Death
- Form 20: Obituary Information Fact Sheet
- Form 21: Notice to Deceased’s Homeowners’ Insurance Company
- Form 22: Notice to Deceased’s Vehicle Insurance Company
4. Renting a Place to Live
- Form 23: Rental Application
- Form 24: Tenant References
- Form 25: Landlord-Tenant Checklist
- Form 26: Move-In Letter
- Form 27: Notice of Needed Repairs
- Form 28: Semiannual Safety and Maintenance Update
- Form 29: Landlord-Tenant Agreement to Terminate Lease
- Form 30: Consent to Assignment of Lease
- Form 31: Tenant’s Notice of Intent to Move Out
- Form 32: Demand for Return of Security Deposit
5. Borrowing and Lending Money
- Form 33: Loan Comparison Worksheet
- Form 34: Authorization to Check Credit and Employment References
- Form 35: Monthly Payment Record
- Forms 36–40: Promissory Notes
- Form 41: Cosigner Provision
- Forms 42–45: Security Agreements
- Form 46: Agreement to Modify Promissory Note
- Form 47: Overdue Payment Demand
- Form 48: Demand to Make Good on Bad Check
6. Buying a House
- Form 49: Ideal House Profile
- Form 50: House Priorities Worksheet
- Form 51: House Comparison Worksheet
- Form 52: Family Financial Statemen
- Form 53: Monthly Carrying Costs Worksheet
- Form 54: Mortgage Rates and Terms Worksheet
- Form 55: Moving Checklist
7. Buying or Selling a Car, Dog, or Personal Property
- Form 56: Motor Vehicle Bill of Sale
- Form 57: Boat Bill of Sale
- Form 58: General Bill of Sale
- Form 59: Bill of Sale for Dog
8. Renting Personal Property and Storing Goods
- Form 60: Personal Property Rental Agreement
- Form 61: Notice of Termination of Personal Property Rental Agreement
- Form 62: Storage Contract
9. Home Repairs and Maintenance
- Form 63: Home Maintenance Agreement
- Form 64: Home Repairs Agreement
- Form 65: Contractor Mid-Job Worksheet
10. Handling Personal Finances
- Form 66: Daily Expenses
- Form 67: Monthly Income
- Form 68: Monthly Budget
- Form 69: Statement of Assets and Liabilities
- Form 70: Assignment of Rights
- Form 71: Notice to Terminate Joint Account
- Form 72: Notice to Stop Payment of Check
- Form 73: Request for Credit Report
- Form 74: Request Reinvestigation of Credit Report Entry
- Form 75: Dispute Credit Card Charge
- Form 76: Demand Collection Agency Cease Contact
11. Dealing With Junk Mail and Telemarketing Calls
- Form 77: Telemarketing Phone Call Log
- Form 78: Notice to Put Name on Company’s “Do Not Call” List
- Form 79: Demand for Damages for Excessive Calls
- Form 80: Notice to Remove Name From List
- Form 81: Notice to Add or Retain Name but Not Sell or Trade It
12. Hiring Child Care, Elder Care, or Household Help
- Form 82: Child Care Agreement
- Form 83: Child Care Instructions
- Form 84: Elder Care Agreement
- Form 85: Housekeeping Services Agreement
13. Living Together
- Form 86: Agreement to Keep Property Separate
- Form 87: Agreement for a Joint Purchase
- Form 88: Agreement to Share Property
- Form 89: Declaration of Legal Name Change
14. Settling Legal Disputes
- Form 90: Demand Letter
- Form 91: Online Auction Buyer Demand Letter
- Form 92: Request for Refund or Repair of Goods Under Warranty
- Form 93: Accident Claim Worksheet
- Forms 94–99: Releases
15. Miscellaneous Forms for Personal Use
- Form 100: Complaint Letter
- Form 101: Notice of Insurance Claim
- Form 102: Notice to Cancel Certain Contracts
- Form 103: Cancel Membership or Subscription Notice
- Form 104: Request to Begin Special Education Process
- Form 105: Identity Theft Worksheet.
A. Using the Interactive Forms
- Editing RTFs
- Signature Lines
- List of Forms
Hiring Child Care, Elder Care, or Household Help
Form 82: Child Care Agreement.............................................................. 118
Form 83: Child Care Instructions............................................................. 120
Form 84: Elder Care Agreement.............................................................. 121
Form 85: Housekeeping Services Agreement......................................... 121
Many people hire others to work regularly in their homes—for example, to take care of children during the workday, care for elderly parents, or clean the house. These relationships are often set up informally, with no written agreement. But informal arrangements can be fraught with problems. If you don’t have a written agreement clearly defining responsibilities and benefits, you and those helping you are all too likely to have different expectations about the job. This can lead to serious disputes—even to one or both parties bitterly backing out of the arrangement. Far better to draft a clear written understanding of what the job entails.
The agreements in this chapter are for hiring care providers and other household workers who are employees, not independent contractors. When you hire an employee, you set the hours, responsibilities, and pay rate of the worker. Legally, most babysitters and household workers who work for you on a regular basis are considered employees for whom you are required to pay taxes, Social Security, and other benefits described below. In contrast, independent contractors typically own their own businesses and work for you only occasionally.
This chapter also includes a Child Care Instructions form you can use for either a full-time child care provider or an occasional babysitter.
For detailed information on hiring child care, see Nannies & Au Pairs: Hiring In-Home Child Care, by Ilona Bray (Nolo). For more information on hiring independent contractors, see Working With Independent Contractors, by Stephen Fishman (Nolo).
Legal Obligations for Employees
Assuming your child care worker, elder care worker, or housecleaner is your employee, you have legal obligations to that person, obligations that include a certain amount of paperwork and record keeping. You do not have to put this information in your child care, elder care, or housekeeping agreement, but you need to be aware of your responsibilities.
Social Security and income taxes. If you pay a child care or elder care worker $2,000 or more in a calendar year, you must make Social Security (FICA) payments on those wages and withhold the employee’s share of FICA. You do not have to deduct income taxes from wages paid to an employee for working in your home unless the employee requests it and you agree to do so. You make these payments by attaching Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes, to your annual Form 1040.
Your state government may also impose separate tax withholding requirements. Contact your state taxing authority, or ask your payroll service (if you use one).
Unemployment compensation. If you pay a household employee $1,000 or more in a three-month period, you must pay quarterly taxes under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), using IRS Form 940 or 940-EZ. As with FICA, you pay this amount by attaching Schedule H, Household Employment Taxes, to your annual Form 1040.
Workers’ compensation. Your state may require you to provide workers’ compensation insurance against job-related injuries or illnesses suffered by your employees. Check with your state department of labor or employment.
Minimum wage and overtime. The federal minimum hourly wage is $7.25 (2016). Your child care or elder care worker may be entitled to minimum wage, depending upon their particular hours and earnings. If your state minimum wage is higher, you will need to pay the state wage. In addition, under federal law, most domestic workers (other than live-in workers) qualify for overtime pay. Workers must be paid overtime at a rate one-and-a-half times the regular rate for all hours worked beyond a 40-hour workweek. You can check the U.S. Department of Labor website, www.dol.gov, for current information about federal and state minimum wage laws.
New Hire Reporting Form. Within a short time after you hire someone—20 days or less, depending on your state’s rules—you must file a New Hire Reporting Form with a designated state agency. The information on the form becomes part of the National Directory of New Hires, used primarily to locate parents to collect child support.
Federal ID number. If you hire a household employee, you must obtain a federal employer identification number (EIN), required by the IRS of all employers for tax filing and reporting purposes. The form you need is IRS Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.
The IRS has a number of publications and forms that might help you. Call the IRS at 800-424-FORM or visit its website at www.irs.gov to download these forms and publications. Start with Publication 926, Household Employer’s Tax Guide, which describes the major tax responsibilities of employers. You may also want to look at:
Form SS-8, which contains IRS definitions of independent contractor and employee, and
Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number.
Many families don’t comply with the law that requires them to pay taxes or Social Security for certain household workers, some of whom are undocumented aliens. This chapter is not intended to preach about the law, but to alert you to the rules that affect your relationships with care providers and housekeeping workers. No question, if you fail to pay Social Security and to meet your other legal obligations as an employer, there may be several negative consequences.
You may be assessed substantial financial penalties. For example, if your full-time elder care provider files for Social Security five years from now and can prove prior earnings, but no Social Security has been paid, the IRS could back-bill you at high interest rates.
If you don’t meet a state requirement to provide workers’ compensation insurance and your child care worker is injured while on the job and can’t work for a few months, you may be in hot water if the worker files for workers’ compensation. You will probably be held liable for the worker’s medical costs and a portion of any lost wages, as well as be fined for not having the insurance in the first place.
You will not be able to take a child care tax credit on your federal income taxes. The credit is based on your work-related expenses and income, but can actually offset the amount you might save by paying under the table.
For more about sharing care for children, elders, and disabled family members, as well as dozens of other ideas, see The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, by Janelle Orsi and Emily Doskow (Nolo).
Form 82: Child Care Agreement
A child care provider who takes care of your children in your house, either part time or full time, may live out (often called a caregiver or babysitter) or live in (a nanny). The responsibilities of the position may vary widely, from performing a whole range of housekeeping services to only taking care of the children.
Do not use this form if you hire a care provider or house cleaner through a placement agency. If you use an agency that sets and collects the worker’s fee from you, pays the worker, and controls the terms of the work, the agency will have its own contract for you to complete. People you hire through an agency are not your employees—they are the employees of their agencies.
Special rules govern hiring of au pairs. If you hire an au pair from another country (on a cultural exchange visa), you’ll need to comply with federal laws governing the au pair’s responsibilities, working hours, rate of pay, and more. An au pair agency will help you with this process. For these reasons, we don’t recommend using the child care agreement provided here if you’re hiring an au pair from another country.
Use this form to spell out your agreement about the child care worker’s responsibilities, hours, benefits, amount and schedule of payment, and other important aspects of the job. The best approach is to be as detailed as possible.
Start by filling in your name, address, phone numbers, and other contact information for yourself (and a second parent if another parent will be signing the Child Care Agreement) and your child care provider. List your children’s names and birth dates.
Here’s some advice on filling in various sections of the Child Care Agreement:
Location and Schedule of Care (Clause 4). Provide the address where child care will be provided (typically your home) and the days and hours of care, such as 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. Live-in nannies often work some weeknights and weekends.
Beginning Date (Clause 5) and Training or Probation Period (Clause 6). Specify the date employment will begin and the length of any training or probation period, such as the first 15 or 30 days of child care. This is the time to make sure that the relationship will work for everyone involved. A training period helps your child care provider get to know your home and neighborhood and the exact way you want things done. If there will be no training or probation period, you can skip this clause.
Responsibilities (Clause 7). The responsibilities of the child care position may vary depending on many factors, including the number and age of your children; whether the child care worker lives in or out; the hours worked; your family situation and needs; and the skills and background of the child care provider. In some households, particularly with infants and toddlers, the babysitter only takes care of the children and does not do housework, except for doing the children’s laundry. In other families, especially with older children, the employee may function more as a housekeeper, cook, and chauffeur. You should specify the child care worker’s responsibilities in as much detail as possible, including cooking, bathing, and personal care for your children, social and recreational activities (such as arranging the children’s play dates), transportation (driving kids to and from school or practices), shopping and errands for the family, housecleaning, ironing, and laundry.
Example: Here’s an example of responsibilities for a live-in nanny taking care of an infant (Kate), and preschooler (Tom):
The child care provider’s primary responsibility is to provide loving care of Kate and Tom. This includes playing with and reading to them, taking them to the park as weather permits, making sure they have naps as needed, and preparing their meals and snacks. The care provider will bathe Kate and Tom every other day, more frequently if necessary. Other responsibilities include driving Tom to “Baby Gym” twice a week, doing the children’s laundry, and keeping their rooms tidy.
Wage or Salary (Clause 8). You should specify exactly how the child care provider will be paid, such as an hourly rate or weekly salary. How much you pay depends on many factors. These include the number and ages of your children; the type of care provided and responsibilities; the number of hours, time of day, and regularity of the schedule; the experience and training of the employee; benefits such as room and board; and the going rate in your community. Check local sources to find out what similar workers are being paid—neighborhood websites and social media groups are a great source for this type of information. Before you fill in this section, be sure you understand your legal obligations when hiring an employee, such as minimum wage and overtime rules, as described above.
Payment Schedule (Clause 9). You can decide to pay your child care provider weekly (say, on Friday), twice per month (such as on the 15th and on the last day of the month), or once per month.
Benefits (Clause 10). In addition to payment, you may offer the child care provider any benefits you wish, such as paid vacations and holidays, health insurance, or sick leave. Spell out the rules for using these benefits, such as how much advance notice you need of planned vacation time, and what happens if the child care provider gets sick after having used up all his or her sick leave.
Termination Policy (Clause 11). If things don’t work out, the Child Care Agreement provides a termination policy that allows either the parents or the child care provider the right to terminate the agreement at any time, for any reason, and without notice.
Confidentiality (Clause 12). This protects your privacy, and potentially, that of your friends, coworkers, and clients.
Additional Provisions (Clause 13). Describe any additional terms of this agreement, such as a schedule for salary reviews, house rules, such as a no-smoking and no personal visitors policy, or a requirement that the child care provider take a first aid course.
Modifications (Clause 14). This agreement provides that any changes to it must be made in writing and signed by all parties to the agreement. This protects both the parents and the child care provider against misunderstandings over major issues that were agreed to verbally.
To make the Child Care Agreement valid, the parent(s) and the child care provider must sign it. (If you and your children’s other parent are living in the same home and raising your kids together, it’s best if both of you sign this document.) Print out two copies of the form. You, your children’s other parent (if signing the form), and the caregiver must sign and date the form where indicated. Give one of the signed originals to the child care provider and keep the other for your records.
Shared In-Home Care
Some families pool their resources and share an in-home child care provider. These arrangements are ideal for neighbors or coworkers with children who are close in age. Just as a written agreement between a family and a child care worker can clarify expectations and prevent conflicts, a written understanding between the two families who are sharing a child care provider can accomplish the same objectives. If you share in-home care with another family, be sure you agree on the key issues before drafting your contract with the child care worker, including location of the care, splitting expenses, termination procedures, and supervision. The other parents should make their own child care arrangements with the care provider.
Form 83: Child Care Instructions
Use this form to provide important information for babysitters and child care providers (including au pairs), such as phone numbers of doctors, instructions about meals and naps, and other details of your child’s care, including any allergies or health conditions your child has.
This form has space for you to fill in the names, addresses, and phone numbers of people that your babysitter or child care provider can contact if they can’t reach you in an emergency. We suggest that you list at least two or three friends, relatives, or neighbors who live nearby and are well known to your children and family. The form will print out with a reminder to call 911 in case of emergency. If you wish to list another emergency number for the police, fire department, or poison control, you may do so.
Finally, the Child Care Instructions form has space to provide additional important information your family or home, such as the location of first aid supplies, the phone number of a local taxi servicace, or the fact that you have a rule against smoking, drinking alcohol, or entertaining personal visitors in the house.
Use a separate form to authorize medical care. While these Child Care Instructions provide important medical information about your child, such as any medications or allergies, this form does not authorize your babysitter or child care provider to arrange medical care for your child. For that, you will need to use the Authorization for Minor’s Medical Treatment (see Chapter 1).
There is no need to sign the Child Care Instructions. Simply fill in the information and print out the form after reading it carefully to make sure all information is complete and correct. Give the babysitter or child care provider a copy and keep one posted in a prominent place, such as on your refrigerator. Be sure to review and update your Child Care Instructions from time to time.
Form 84: Elder Care Agreement
Many older people remain at home or live with relatives rather than enter a residential facility for extended recovery or long-term care. Often this requires hiring someone (an elder care provider) to help with their personal and medical care, cooking, housekeeping, and other services.
An elder care provider (sometimes called a home health aide) can either live out or live in, and work full or part time. The responsibilities of this position may vary, from performing a wide range of housekeeping services to attending to the personal and health care needs of the older adult (or adults, in case the elder care worker is taking care of two people, such as both of your parents). Responsibilities may range from dispensing medicine to helping with bathing to driving to doctor’s appointments, activities, or social functions.
Use this form to spell out your written agreement about the elder care worker’s responsibilities, hours, benefits, amount and schedule of payment, and other important aspects of the job. The best approach is to be as detailed as possible. Follow the directions for the Child Care Agreement when completing this form.
To make the Elder Care Agreement valid, the employer(s) and the elder care provider must sign it. Start by printing out two copies of the form. You (the employer) and the caregiver must sign and date the form where indicated. Give one of the signed originals to the elder care provider and keep the other for your records.
For more about sharing care for children, elders, and disabled family members, as well as dozens of other ideas, see The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community, by Emily Doskow and Janelle Orsi (Nolo).
Form 85: Housekeeping Services Agreement
If you hire the same person every week to clean your house, a written contract can be a valuable way to define the worker’s responsibilities and benefits. If your housecleaner will be your employee, use this form to spell out the housecleaner’s hours, benefits, amount and schedule of payment, termination policy, and other aspects of the job. Your agreement should cover regular weekly cleaning tasks (Clause 5)—for example, cleaning the bathroom and mopping the kitchen floor—as well as occasional projects, such as washing blinds. Be sure to spell out other responsibilities as well (Clause 6), such as cooking, laundry, ironing, shopping, gardening, and yard work. The best approach is to be as detailed as possible. Follow the directions for the Child Care Agreement when completing this form.
To make the Housekeeping Services Agreement valid, the employer(s) and the housekeeper must sign it. Finalizing your housekeeping services agreement is easy. Start by printing out two copies of the form. You (the employer) and the housekeeper must sign and date the form where indicated. Give one of the signed originals to the housekeeper and keep the other for your records.
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