Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

What is a cease and desist?

This legal document is often the last step before a lawsuit.

Our top pick: Rocket Lawyer

  • 7-day free trial
  • Personal or business legal advice
  • On-call attorneys
  • Create custom legal documents
Go to site

Legal documents can be tricky to get your head around, especially if you can’t afford an in-house lawyer or hourly legal fees. We’ve put together a simple how-to for cease and desist letters so you can write a letter to suit your situation.

What is a cease and desist letter?

A cease and desist letter is a formal request, sent to a business or individual that is partaking in unwanted or illegal behavior. It is a simple letter asking them to stop engaging in a certain activity. This can include copyright infringements, harassment or a breach of contract.

Find and compare cease and desist templates

Name Product Pros Cons
Rocket Lawyer
  • Instant access to a library of user friendly legal documents
  • Fast access to a network of certified lawyers
  • Free 30-minute consultations
  • Reduced rates in select services
  • Services can get expensive
Rocket Lawyer gives you access to legal documents, legal advice and representation seamlessly — plus, they offer a seven-day free trial.
  • Legal information all in one place
  • Free searches for attorneys
  • Software and documents to streamline legal operations
  • Advice for do-it-yourself legal work
  • It may be difficult to know where to start
Legal forms and online documents, books, & software.
  • Access a database of licensed lawyers based on your legal needs
  • Positively reviewed by customers
  • User-friendly interface
  • Wide range of legal support categories
  • Free review by a document specialist
  • Services can get expensive
LegalZoom provides a simple and quick way to get legal services from qualified attorneys.

Compare up to 4 providers

When should I use a cease and desist letter?

It’s time to write a cease and desist letter to stop the following actions:

  • Breach of contract
  • Debt collectors
  • Harassment, stalking or invasion of privacy
  • Intellectual property infringement
  • Nondisclosure (NDA) violation
  • Property boundary encroachment
  • Slander or false accusations
  • Trademark and copyright infringement

Do I need a lawyer to send this document?

While it can be beneficial for a lawyer draw up a cease and desist letter for you, you don’t need a lawyer to send the letter. Anyone can send out a cease and desist letter. Consider asking a lawyer to look at your letter, asking them if your letter has grounds for legal action or if you want to add weight to your letter in court.

What does a cease and desist letter include?

A cease and desist letter should be clear and concise and should include the following:

  • Your name and address
  • The recipient’s name and address
  • A request for the recipient to stop a specific action
  • A time frame for the action to stop
  • Outline the next steps if the recipient does not fulfill the request within the time frame specified

Avoid neutral language, empty threats or threatening language. Remember, this is a legal warning to the recipient, not a letter to threaten harsh action. Be sure not to include any vague language to make your intentions as clear as possible.

How effective is a cease and desist letter?

Although the recipient of a cease and desist letter is not under any legal obligation to comply with requests, most businesses and individuals take these letters seriously. Letters sent by lawyers tend to carry more weight and often are the most effective.

If the recipient has not complied in the time frame given in the letter, the sender can take legal action, including sending another letter, filing a lawsuit or filing a temporary restraining order.

Cease and desist letter vs. demand letter

A cease and desist letter requests that the recipient stop carrying out a certain action, a letter of demand is a formal notice requesting a recovery of debt. This can be in the form of goods, services or payment.

Bottom line

When you feel like you need to take legal issues into your own hands, there are sites online to help you for free. From help with divorce, to opening a business, you can find help for free, or pay a monthly fee for continued assistance.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site