Your sweet Aunt Millie has just volunteered to lend you money for your company. Naturally, you're thrilled. But how do you ensure that her kind act doesn't become a nightmare when and if the business has trouble? You could sit down with a lawyer and spell out the repayment terms. But if the deal is straightforward, you can probably achieve the same end by working through Nolo's Law Form Kit: Loan Agreements (Nolo Press, Berkeley, Calif., 1993, $14.95).

The kit, developed by lawyers Stephen Elias and Lisa Goldoftas, contains clear instructions on how to structure loans and prepare documents to avoid misunderstandings. Among the choices lenders and borrowers need to make: what interest payments will be paid; when payments are due; and whether to require collateral (which complicates matters). Appended to the explanatory materials are blank forms for different types of promissory notes; release documents; and payment records. In light of how often friendly deals turn sour, this is a resource whose time has come. -- Bruce G. Posner

* * *