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If you're struggling to recover debt, it might be time to start taking legal action. One of the steps in the build-up to taking legal action is to send the offender a Letter of Demand. We've put together a simple guide on what exactly these letters are and how you can write one.
What's in this guide?
- What is a Letter of Demand?
- When should I use a Letter of Demand?
- What does a Letter of Demand include and not include?
- Letter of Demand vs Statutory Demand
- How effective is a Letter of Demand?
- Do I need a lawyer to send this document?
- Get access to customisable Letter of Demand templates online
- How do I write a Letter of Demand?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Letter of Demand
What is a Letter of Demand?
A Letter of Demand is usually sent to a person or business that has failed to make a payment. Several letters can be sent to the offender and used as a final warning before taking more serious legal action to recover the debt. A Letter of Demand is also referred to as a Debt Recovery, Demand for Payment or Debt Collection letter.
Download this Letter of Demand template at Lawpath
When should I use a Letter of Demand?
A Letter of Demand should be used if several attempts have already been made to request payment and the recipient has failed to reply. It should be the final step before starting court proceedings over the claim.
A Letter of Demand should be the next course of action in the following situations:
- You need to make a formal request for payment of the debt.
- You have already made attempts to recover the debt.
- You are ready to take legal action over the debt.
What does a Letter of Demand include and not include?
What to include in a Letter of Demand
A Letter of Demand should state exactly how much money needs to be paid, what the money is owed for and a date as to when the payment must be made. It should also inform the recipient as to what legal action might be taken if the payment is not made by the time frame mentioned in the letter. It is key to be concise and specific about what you want, when you want it and what the next steps will be.
What not to include in a Letter of Demand
Threatening language or any hint of frustration is a big no-no when writing a Letter of Demand. This is a legally binding document that will be read by the judge if the case gets taken to court. Keep the letter professional and objective. If you're unsure, it's always best to use a template or seek legal advice.
Letter of Demand vs Statutory Demand
A Letter of Demand and a Statutory Demand are both useful tools if you're trying to chase up outstanding debt. However, while a Letter of Demand is a formal notice requesting payment of an outstanding debt, a Statutory Demand lets the recipient know that unless the debt is paid, insolvency proceedings will be started.
How effective is a Letter of Demand?
Letters of Demand are one of the final steps before a lawsuit is filed. For this reason, most individuals and companies take these letters relatively seriously. Hiring a lawyer can increase the weight of your letter and improve its effectiveness.
Do I need a lawyer to send this document?
You do not need a lawyer to send a Letter of Demand, although you may want to get legal help to look over the validity of your claim. If you decide to write a Letter of Demand yourself, it's always worth working with a legal template to make sure the letter is clear, well-organised and includes everything you need.
Get access to customisable Letter of Demand templates online
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How do I write a Letter of Demand?
A Letter of Demand should only provide the essential information and is generally no longer than a page. Generally speaking, the more concise, the better.
A Letter of Demand should include the following:
- Your name and address
- The recipient's name and address
- Amount of outstanding debt owed
- Description of what the debt is owed for
- Date the debt was due
- A new due date for the outstanding debt to be paid
- An outline of any legal action that may take place if the debt is not paid by the due date
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a Letter of Demand
There are plenty of free legal templates online that are great for giving you a helping hand with any legal issues you might be facing. While many of these templates are free to view, you may need to pay a small fee to customise and download them.
- Lawpath. Lawpath is an online legal resource for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Users are encouraged to browse free samples on the website but must sign-up to a monthly plan to customise any documents.
- LawDepot. LawDepot provides a wide array of free legal documents to choose from. Simply fill the documents in online before downloading them to your computer.
- LegalVision. LegalVision offers users unlimited use of legal document templates, including a Letter of Demand, in exchange for a monthly membership fee.
- Legal Zebra. Free PDF samples can be downloaded if you sign-up to Legal Zebra's marketing emails. To access customisable documents, the templates will need to be purchased for a one-time fee.
- Wonder.Legal. Browse more than 140 legal document templates with Wonder.Legal, all of which can be purchased for a one-time fee. Although free to browse, downloading a Letter of Demand template currently costs $4.99.
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