How To Complete The 3 Most Important Planning Docs When You Don't Have Time To Meet With An Estate Attorney

This article on important planning documents is provided by Everplans — The web's leading resource for planning and organizing your life. Create, store and share important documents that your loved ones might need. Find out more about Everplans »

The biggest barrier to planning is often finding the time to get it done. Thanks to these three services, you’re now out of excuses.

The phrase “official, legal document” sounds like a ton of work. It actually isn't. With the help of an estate attorney all your major planning documents can be completed quite painlessly. But for people who require an immediate solution, and you need something in place before you have the time to meet with a professional, it can be done in under an hour.

Just follow our suggestions below and you’ll alleviate all your planning worries in the time it takes to watch an episode of NCIS. (Or while you’re watching an episode of NCIS. Oh, Mark Harmon, is there anything you can’t do?)

Will = Willing

This recently launched site makes creating a Will so easy that we almost felt like we were cheating. Here’s the process after you enter your email and a password:

Personal Info

Family: Marital Status / Children

Property: Who do you want to leave it to? You can split it evenly or divide up specific assets

Wait around 30 seconds…

Poof, there’s your Will. Now you just have to sign it and follow the instructions based on your state. (Example: Some require two witnesses.)

Time It Takes: Around 15 minutes

Cost: Free

Bonus: Willing also compiles a Living Will and Durable Power Of Attorney, which you have to pay $19 to print or download, but we were most impressed by the Will component.

Next Level Planning: Now that you've gotten a taste for planning with a simple Will, you might realize you require something a little more complex. For this we suggest seeking out an estate attorney. It's their job, after all.

Create your Will on Willing now

Power Of Attorney = LegalZoom

LegalZoom isn't free, but it walks you through the POA process in a very educational and straightforward manner. Here we go...

Choose Your State

Basics: Name / Marital Status/ Address

Agent Info

Agent’s Powers (this section really schools you on the level of access you’re giving this person)

Additional Details / Instructions

Ability To Place Power Limits

Effective Date (this allows you to choose between immediate vs. the event of incapacitation)


This means it remains in effect if you become incapacitated. (If you're confused, here’s the difference between Durable vs. Non-Durable)

From there you choose a pricing model, either basic or comprehensive, and you’ll receive it in the mail on nice paper in a few days. Follow the instructions and you’ve got yourself a proper POA.

Time: 20 minutes

Cost: The basic is around $40; comprehensive is around $50

Create your POA on LegalZoom now

Advance Directive = Everplans

We have each state’s Living Will and Health Care Proxy forms right here on this site. The documents can vary greatly between each state, and a few don’t even offer Living Wills, so it’s important to only focus on what you need.

Click your state below:

AL | AK | AZ | AR | CA | CO | CT | DE | FL | GA
HI | ID | IL | IN | IA | KS | KY | LA | ME | MD
MA | MI | MN | MS | MO | MT | NE | NV | NH | NJ
NM | NY | NC | ND | OH | OK | OR | PA | RI | SC
SD | TN | TX | UT | VT | VA | WA | WV | WI | WY | DC

Download the form associated with your state and print it out.

Get nice and comfy and start making your medical decisions.

bulldog relaxing on comfy chair

Like we mentioned, some states offer comprehensive options, and others are much more simple. By taking the time to read through the actual document, you really get a sense of the important decisions you’re making.

After you’re done, follow the signing/witness/notarization guidelines we include on each state-based Advance Directive page.

Time: Between 10-20 mins

Cost: Free

Now That You’re A Planning Hero...

You need to let people you love and trust know where these important documents are stored. Your Advance Directive should be readily available to those who might need it in the event of an emergency, but your Will and POA should be stored in a nice safe place until they’re called to service one day.

This is why we created Everplans in the first place: To make the most important documents and information in your life readily available to the people who'll need them (we call these people “Deputies”).

When you upload items into to your Everplan, you also give detailed instructions on where you keep the actual, official documents. Whether they’re in a safe in your closet (tell your Deputy the combination), a locked drawer in your desk (tell your Deputy where you keep the key), or in a plain old filing cabinet -- here's how it looks in action:

You spent the time doing all this work, make sure it pays off in the end.

Oh, One Last Thing

Time to celebrate! Pop some champagne, eat a cupcake, binge watch your favorite show. You earned it! But keep in mind: While these options are a good DIY solution, we always recommend having a professional help you if you can.

State-By-State Health, Legal, And End-Of-Life Resources

Important Documents

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