The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: June 2007

Customise your legal documents online, for the first time

14 June 2007

DocumentX has launched the first service in South Africa to offer customised legal documents online. The service is secure, affordable and empowers users to create their own legal documents. The website also explains legal jargon specific to each document and provides a free, safe storage area where users can keep their documents online.
“No-one else offers this service,” affirms founder Sheldon Kennedy.
“Banks will create a standard legal document for their clients, such as will and testaments. However, Kennedy explains that there is a catch to acquiring documents via this channel as banks usually expect to be made executor, allowing them to charge a high fee later for administering the client’s estate.
“Stationery shops may sell pre-packaged and compiled legal documents,” adds Kennedy. “But these are fixed and can not be customised according to people’s own needs.”
With DocumentX, users have the power to customise documents by simply selecting from specific options. The document is then generated and stored online where it can easily be accessed, modified if necessary, and printed.
The website was developed using the open source content management system, Drupal, along with custom modules developed by Obsidian.
“Obsidian Switch developed custom forms for capturing data,” explains chief technical officer, Anton de Wet. “On the back-end we used an open source solution that handles document typesetting.”
De Wet explains that a document can be generated from start to finish in between three and five minutes, with simpler documents, such as a Power of Attorney, being done in under a minute.
Kennedy says that there are plans to expand offerings on the website.
“The documents available now are those most useful in people’s everyday lives,” he explains. “DocumentX will add to these vital documents on an on-going basis according to users’ responses and requests. Working on solutions to simplify the completion of common corporate forms and applications.”
DocumentX is already up and running at Any South African citizen over the age of 21 is able to open a free account and create documents immediately, with the first document being free.
As leaders in online open source development and support, Obsidian Switch will be maintaining the website going forward.

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