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What is a letter of demand?

Request outstanding debt with a short and concise formal notice.

If you’re struggling to recover debt, it might be time to start taking legal action. One of the steps in the buildup 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 is a letter of demand?

A letter of demand is a professional, formal written notice sent from one party to another in order to request an amendment or restitution for a wrongdoing, or to request payment. Typically, the recipient has breached a contract, or failed to follow through on an obligation that results in payment default.

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When should I use a letter of demand?

You could use a letter of demand once several attempts have already been made to the recipient to remit payment, but the individual or party hasn’t responded. It should be the final step before starting court proceedings over the claim.

A letter of demand can 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?

A letter of demand should include the following:

  • Your name and address
  • The recipient’s name and address
  • Purpose of the letter
  • Amount of outstanding debt owed
  • Description of damages
  • Original payment due date
  • Demand of restitution
  • A new expected payment date
  • An outline of any legal action that may take place if the debt is not paid by the due date

Be concise and specific about what you want, when you want it and what will happen next.

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 your claim’s validity. 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-organized and covers everything you need.

What to avoid in a letter of demand

  • Threatening language
  • Language that conveys frustration
  • Sarcasm
  • Making it personal

A letter of demand is a legally binding document that a judge will read if your case ends up in court. Keep the letter professional and objective.

If you’re unsure, it’s always best to use a template or seek legal advice. 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.

How effective is a letter of demand?

Letters of Demand are one of the final steps before filing a lawsuit. 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.

Bottom line

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 customize and download them — but most offer a free trial.

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