Charlotte L. Ruse relocated her office as a legal document assistant (LDA) and notary public from Lake Isabella in late February 2014, shortly after she and her husband moved to Tehachapi. She will be celebrating the one year anniversary of her grand opening of Legal Document Service, located at 102 S. Robinson St.
"I am not an attorney," said Charlotte. "I can only provide self-help services at your specific direction (LDA # 95 Exp. 10/1/15)."
"I am a legal document assistant (LDA), registered and bonded by Kern County to contract with the general public to create legal documents and court filings for various areas of the law so that they (her clients) are not just pro per, alone," she said. "We used to be called independent paralegals. Paralegals have to work under the supervision of an attorney, and LDAs can work independently."
Charlotte said she is trying to educate the public as to the existence of LDAs, "because a lot people still call us paralegals."
"I cannot advise people on their particular situation as to what they should do," she said. "You can't come to me and say, 'this is my situation and I don't know what to do.' I can't do that because that would be practicing law. But, you can come to me and say, 'I want a grant deed adding my daughter to my property,' and then I can prepare a grant deed for you."
Charlotte specializes in estate planning, living trusts, wills, durable powers of attorney, powers of attorney for healthcare, healthcare directives dictating those directions for end of life and other situations, the first two degrees of probate, property deeds, quit claims, short form deeds of trust, promissory notes, and other paperwork clients would normally go to a title company for.
"The title companies refer all the non-escrow private sale type documents to me," she said. "Everything you sign when you buy a house with the exception of title searches and title insurance, which is provided by the title companies."
Charlotte is a member of the California Association of Legal Document Assistants, which features a forum and attorneys on retainer who assist LDAs with more complicated issues.
"I work Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m."
Charlotte said she uses the forms and templates that are provided by the attorneys that the association retains or NOLO forms.
"I fill out a questioner along with my clients so that I know that I have all the information I need to complete the particular documents required for the particular service they have requested. After the forms are completed, I have my clients return to pick them up and have them notarized, as I am a notary public as well," she said.
"Usually it's a simple matter, but if it's not, I will refer the client to a particular attorney that I am sure can provide what they need."
On May 13, Charlotte Ruse will be hosting the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce Mixer from 5 to 7 p.m.
The public is invited to attend.
For more information, call Charlotte Ruse at (661) 699-7025 or email her at email@example.com.