What Makes a Document Legal?

••• Peter Skadberg, http://www.sxc.hu

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Generally, a document is legal if its creator intends for it to be enforceable in a court of law. In order for a document to be legal, it must also adhere to the laws of the jurisdiction where it will be enforced. The document should also be properly signed, witnessed and filed to be considered legal.


When two parties voluntarily enter into an agreement and intend to make it binding and enforceable, the resulting contract is a legal document.

Judicial Order

When a judge enters an order, it is a binding and legal document as there is recourse available if it is breached.

Petitions and Filings

When an individual or his attorney drafts, serves and files a petitions or motion with a court pursuant to federal, state and local laws, the documents produced are legal.

Wills and Trusts

When an individual signs and has witnessed a document that they intend to govern their assets, they have produced a legal document.

Laws, Proclamations and Acts

Laws, acts and congressional proclamations are all legal documents since they shape judicial actions and are enforceable.


About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

Photo Credits

  • Peter Skadberg, http://www.sxc.hu