To get the best view of Light Path Ahead, please update your Internet Explorer or use another broswer.

Complete Legal Documents

Take Action

Legal Zoom is a fast, quality option to create a will and advance directive at low cost. The Tools tab has links to state bar associations' free advance directive forms and to find an estate lawyer if those are right for you.

Checklisticon title

Discuss my will with my executor(s)

Checklisticon title

Discuss my advance directive with my health care agent(s)

Checklisticon title

Create or review will

Checklisticon title

Create or review advance directive

Checklisticon title

Sign will and advance directive, and store in a safe place

  • Complete your Will (LegalZoom)
  • Complete your Advance Directive (LegalZoom)
  • Resources to Help

    Top Three Things to Know

    1. Everyone should have a will and advance directive, even if it is just a simple one. This is especially important if you have a spouse, domestic partner, kids, or anyone else who relies on you for financial or other support. You should review your them at least every two years - and after major life events - to ensure that they meet your needs.
    2. Do it for your family, if not for yourself. An advance directive helps you ease the burden on your loved ones of making difficult decisions and prevents disagreements. It's a gift for them to understand your wishes.
    3. A will and advance directive are only relevant to the extent that your family knows where to find them, understands your wishes, and does not challenge the documents. Thus, one of the most important steps in estate planning is discussing these topics with your family.

    Guides & Videos

    Our Guides

    Articleicon title

    How to create an Advance Directive and Living Will

    Articleicon title

    How to create an Advance Directive and Living Will

    Articleicon title

    How to Create a Will and Living Trust

    Articleicon title

    How to Create a Will and Living Trust

    Estate Planning Overview (Nolo)

    Why Should I Prepare a Will? (Rocket Lawyer)

    Living Wills and Power of Attorney (Nolo)

    Power of Attorney Overview (Rocket Lawyer)

    Key Questions

    What happens if I want to change my Advance Directive?

    Logistically, this is simple. You can complete a new form or engage a legal services provider to create a new Advance Directive. Doing so cancels any older versions. HOWEVER, you must also communicate these changes to your family and, especially, the person who serves as your health care agent. If they do not know you have made changes, they may make decisions consistent with your previous Advance Directive.

    Which organs and tissues can be donated?

    You may donate the following:

    • Organs: kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines
    • Tissue: corneas, middle ear, skin, heart valves, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments
    How does my religion view organ donation?

    Most religions view organ donation as an individual choice and/or endorse it as a charitable act to help another.  The Department of Health and Human Services provides a good summary of major religions’ views on donation

    Does this apply to me?

    You need to complete a Will and Health Care Directive if:

    • You have kids, spouse, or anyone else who relies on you for support
    • You want to have your health care wishes honored when you cannot make decisions for yourself
    • You do not have these documents or it's been two years or your life has changed (e.g., marriage, divorce, baby, new house) since you last updated your Will or Health Care Directive
    What should I look for in an estate planning attorney?

    From Molly Walls of McArthur Franklin, PLLC:

    Estate planning and the administration of decedents’ estates have become quite complicated, like so much else in our world. It is a good idea to choose an attorney who specializes in estate planning and estate administration. Ask family and friends for names of attorneys they recommend. Look at the websites for the attorneys you are considering, to find out their backgrounds, credentials and experience. Then make appointments to meet with three or four attorneys for 15-20 minutes (you can ask that that time not be billed to you), to meet each one and to get a sense of each attorney’s personality and style. It is extremely important that you work with an attorney with whom you “click”.

    Good estate planning and estate administration involves communicating confidential, personal information to your attorney, so you will want that person to be someone you feel comfortable with, get along with, and trust. You will be working on matters that should be as focused on you and your family’s needs, as it is on legal and tax consequences, so it is worth the time to find the attorney who is the right fit for you.

    Do I need an estate attorney to prepare my will and advance directive?

    Many people need just the standard legal protections that come with quality online providers like LegalZoom or the free advance directive forms that many state bar associations publish. However, there are situations in which the help of an estate attorney can be particularly helpful:

    • You want property passing to your children to be held for their benefit until a certain age, instead of passing directly to them when they are 18
    • You are recently divorced and/or you have children from previous marriages
    • You have a disabled family member for whom you want to provide
    • You want to leave some assets to charity
    • You own a business
    • Your assets excess estate tax limits for the federal government (currently $5 million) or for your state
    How can I avoid a messy probate process?

    A probate court—also called a surrogate court—validates and enforces a deceased person’s Will or appoints an administrator to distribute the assets of a person who dies intestate (without a Will). The entire probate process can last from a few months to several years, depending on complexity of the estate and whether there are contests to the Will or Executor’s actions. It is something you want to avoid or make as smooth as possible.

    You can increase your odds of avoiding probate complications or avoid the process altogether by:

    • putting as many of the assets as possible into a Living Trust, which becomes irrevocable upon your death
    • ensuring that all of your insurance plans and retirement accounts beneficiary designations are up to date
    • designating some bank accounts as payable on death or having a co-owner, so that the assets transfer automatically and outside of the probate process
    • ensuring that your Will clearly states the order of priority for Executors and Guardians for your children or dependents, if you list multiple people
    • discussing your plans with close relatives to prevent disputes from arising after your death
    • using an estate planning attorney to ensure that your plans are valid and enforceable
    Top ↑
    ×

    What happens if I want to change my Advance Directive?

    Logistically, this is simple. You can complete a new form or engage a legal services provider to create a new Advance Directive. Doing so cancels any older versions. HOWEVER, you must also communicate these changes to your family and, especially, the person who serves as your health care agent. If they do not know you have made changes, they may make decisions consistent with your previous Advance Directive.

    ×

    Which organs and tissues can be donated?

    You may donate the following:

    • Organs: kidneys, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines
    • Tissue: corneas, middle ear, skin, heart valves, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments
    ×

    How does my religion view organ donation?

    Most religions view organ donation as an individual choice and/or endorse it as a charitable act to help another.  The Department of Health and Human Services provides a good summary of major religions’ views on donation

    ×

    Does this apply to me?

    You need to complete a Will and Health Care Directive if:

    • You have kids, spouse, or anyone else who relies on you for support
    • You want to have your health care wishes honored when you cannot make decisions for yourself
    • You do not have these documents or it's been two years or your life has changed (e.g., marriage, divorce, baby, new house) since you last updated your Will or Health Care Directive
    ×

    What should I look for in an estate planning attorney?

    From Molly Walls of McArthur Franklin, PLLC:

    Estate planning and the administration of decedents’ estates have become quite complicated, like so much else in our world. It is a good idea to choose an attorney who specializes in estate planning and estate administration. Ask family and friends for names of attorneys they recommend. Look at the websites for the attorneys you are considering, to find out their backgrounds, credentials and experience. Then make appointments to meet with three or four attorneys for 15-20 minutes (you can ask that that time not be billed to you), to meet each one and to get a sense of each attorney’s personality and style. It is extremely important that you work with an attorney with whom you “click”.

    Good estate planning and estate administration involves communicating confidential, personal information to your attorney, so you will want that person to be someone you feel comfortable with, get along with, and trust. You will be working on matters that should be as focused on you and your family’s needs, as it is on legal and tax consequences, so it is worth the time to find the attorney who is the right fit for you.

    ×

    Do I need an estate attorney to prepare my will and advance directive?

    Many people need just the standard legal protections that come with quality online providers like LegalZoom or the free advance directive forms that many state bar associations publish. However, there are situations in which the help of an estate attorney can be particularly helpful:

    • You want property passing to your children to be held for their benefit until a certain age, instead of passing directly to them when they are 18
    • You are recently divorced and/or you have children from previous marriages
    • You have a disabled family member for whom you want to provide
    • You want to leave some assets to charity
    • You own a business
    • Your assets excess estate tax limits for the federal government (currently $5 million) or for your state
    ×

    How can I avoid a messy probate process?

    A probate court—also called a surrogate court—validates and enforces a deceased person’s Will or appoints an administrator to distribute the assets of a person who dies intestate (without a Will). The entire probate process can last from a few months to several years, depending on complexity of the estate and whether there are contests to the Will or Executor’s actions. It is something you want to avoid or make as smooth as possible.

    You can increase your odds of avoiding probate complications or avoid the process altogether by:

    • putting as many of the assets as possible into a Living Trust, which becomes irrevocable upon your death
    • ensuring that all of your insurance plans and retirement accounts beneficiary designations are up to date
    • designating some bank accounts as payable on death or having a co-owner, so that the assets transfer automatically and outside of the probate process
    • ensuring that your Will clearly states the order of priority for Executors and Guardians for your children or dependents, if you list multiple people
    • discussing your plans with close relatives to prevent disputes from arising after your death
    • using an estate planning attorney to ensure that your plans are valid and enforceable
    Top ↑