There are times in life when the only recourse is legal. It is during these times that you write a legal demand letter.
A legal demand letter is usually drafted by an attorney or lawyer and asks that a party fulfill certain legal obligations. These obligations can range from breach of contract to trademark infringement, to failure to make some kind of payment. In most cases, a legal demand letter is the first step in getting your case off the ground and into a small claims court where the issues can actually be resolved.
What is included in a Legal Demand Letter?
A successful legal demand letter should include the following:
- A history of the relationship between the two parties. This section should be brief.
- A description of the specific problem and or allegations being made.
- An outline of any and all prior attempts to resolve the matter outside of court. This is important when dealing with financial issues as you want to show that attempts were made to fix the problem.
- Your official demand for payment and or restitution for what is owed.
- Describe What you will do next if the matter is not handled and or restitution is not made.
How to Write a Legal Demand Letter
Aside from including the correct information in your legal demand letter, there are also a number of things you should and shouldn’t do.
Do Not Threaten or Disparage
A legal demand letter should not be thought of as a written threat. Rather, it is a way for you to professionally and objectively inform someone that you have run out of options and intend to move forward with taking legal actions against them. Some people make the mistake of writing insults or being otherwise disparaging in their legal demand letters. This should be avoided at all costs. There are a number of reasons why. The first has to do with the fact that, if a legal demand letter does its job, that means the person you sent it to will respond by moving forward with providing you with restitution. You greatly reduce the chances of this happening if you anger the person and make them feel as if they have an adversarial relationship with you.
The next reason you do not want to lob threats or be otherwise unprofessional in your legal demand letter has to do with the fact that, if your case ends up in court, it is likely that the presiding judge will read it. The last thing you want when trying to win a case is a judge reading a letter written by you that makes you sound unprofessional, or even as if you may have anger or control issues.
Keep the Letter as Short as Possible
The more concise your the better. You should not feel that just because the letter is a legal document, it should be drawn-out and overcomplicated. One of the reasons legal documents are sometimes effective is that they walk the line between overly-formal official legal documentation and overly-casual requests. People are fearful of receiving any type of legal request and, while you can certainly use this to your advantage, you do not want to take things so far that you end up sending pages and pages of documents when one simple page will likely do.
Now you know a legal demand letter is an official, yet a not-obligating way for those who have legal disputes to seek restitution for things like failure to pay and other issues that often end up having to be officially resolved in small claims court.
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