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:
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
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.
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’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)
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
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.
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
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.