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  • Caring for children with special needs
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There are special considerations to make if you have a blended family or a child with special needs. In these cases, it may be best to talk to an attorney.
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Our directory of experienced, local attorneys can help you with circumstances such as:
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  • …and any other concerns you have!
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Do you have a large estate or an interest in more advanced estate planning tools like trusts?

If your estate equals or exceeds a value of $1 million, or needs special estate planning tools like trusts, it may be best to talk with an attorney.
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Our directory of experienced, local attorneys can help you with circumstances such as:
What’s included:
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  • Caring for children with special needs
  • Establishing and maintaining trusts
  • …and any other concerns you have!
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Are you looking to have your estate planning basics covered?

Our Estate Planning Package includes a Last Will & Testament, Health Care Directive & Living Will, and Financial Power of Attorney to cover all of your basic estate planning needs.
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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Do you have minor children?

If you have minor children, you will want to name a guardian for them.
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Do you have pets?

If you have a pet or pets, you will want to name someone to care for them.
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Do you want to leave gifts to people or a charity?

If you want to give items or money to people or charities, you will want to make what are known as “specific gifts.”
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Do you own a business?

If you own a business or a share of a business, you will want to plan for succession of ownership.
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Do you want to decide how your property is distributed when you pass away?

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Do you want someone to handle your health care decisions if you are unable?

In case you are incapacitated, you will want to list your health care preferences and name someone to handle your health care decisions.
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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Do you want someone to handle your health care decisions if you are unable?

In case you are incapacitated, you will want to list your health care preferences and name someone to handle your health care decisions.
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Do you want to specify someone who can make financial decisions for you if you are unavailable or incapacitated?

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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Understood! Last question…

Do you want to specify someone who can make financial decisions for you if you are unavailable or incapacitated?

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Do you have a spouse with similar needs?

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Thank you for taking our quiz!
Your answers suggest you might benefit from:

Speaking with
a FindLaw Attorney

Our directory of experienced, local attorneys can help you with circumstances such as:
What’s included:
  • Being part of a blended family
  • Caring for children with special needs
  • Establishing and maintaining trusts
  • …and any other concerns you have!
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Estate Planning Package

For One Person

$135
What’s included:
  • Last will and testament
  • Health care directive & living will
  • Financial power of attorney
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • A comprehensive plan — for less
  • Free changes and revisions for one full year after purchase
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All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Financial Power of Attorney

For One Person

$39
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Health Care Directive & Living Will

For One Person

$39
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your health care directive and living will before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament

For One Person

$79
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your will for a full year after purchase
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All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Estate Planning Package

For Two People

$255
What’s included:
  • Two wills, health care directives & living wills, and financial powers of attorney
  • Two free HIPAA release forms
  • You and your loved one create your own estate plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Attorney-approved documents customized to your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions for one full year after purchase
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All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Financial Power of Attorney

For Two People

$78
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create an attorney-approved power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Health Care Directive & Living Will

For Two People

$78
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy.
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create an attorney-approved document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament

For Two People

$149
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create two wills customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your wills for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Health Care Directive & Living Will + Financial Power of Attorney

For One Person

$78
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your health care directive and living will before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
  • Create your state-specific documents before you buy
  • Create a power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament + Financial Power of Attorney

For One Person

$118
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your will for a full year after purchase
  • Create your state-specific documents before you buy
  • Create a power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament + Health Care Directive & Living Will

For One Person

$118
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create a last will and testament that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your will for a full year after purchase
  • Create your health care directive and living will before you buy
  • Create a document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Health Care Directive & Living Will + Financial Power of Attorney

For Two People

$156
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy.
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create an attorney-approved document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy
  • Create an attorney-approved power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament + Financial Power of Attorney

For Two People

$227
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create two wills customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your wills for a full year after purchase
  • Create an attorney-approved power of attorney that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase
Close

All done! Based on your answers, we recommend:

Last Will and Testament + Health Care Directive & Living Will

For Two People

$227
What’s included:
  • Try our easy step-by-step guide
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy
  • Only purchase if you are satisfied with your estate planning documents
  • Create two wills customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free changes and revisions to your wills for a full year after purchase
  • Create your state-specific, attorney-approved documents before you buy.
  • Create an attorney-approved document that’s customized to your wishes and your state’s laws
  • Free HIPAA release form
  • Free changes and revisions to your document for a full year after purchase

Living Will Form: Explanation and Samples

Each of the fifty states has laws regarding estate planning, some specifically for living wills. A living will allows you to put your instructions for medical decisions and care in writing in the event you are unable to make decisions or communicate yourself. Often, this is when you have a terminal condition, are permanently unconscious, in a persistent vegetative state, or suffer from some other incurable condition.

Table of Contents

Your living will acts as a guide for your medical providers and loved ones when making decisions about your health care. Some states refer to a living will as “health care directive,” “advance directive,” “declaration regarding life-sustaining treatment,” or some other similar term. A health care directive is typically comprised of two parts:

  • Living will with end-of-life decisions for health care
  • Medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care naming a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated

These documents may sound complex. You can use our health care directive and living will template to create a health care plan that works for you and meets the requirements in your state.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is often confused with a last will and testament. While both can be included in an estate plan, they are separate legal documents. A living will states the medical treatment you want or do not want if you are unable to make or communicate your wishes. A last will and testament states how you want your property distributed upon your death and allows you to nominate a guardian for your minor children, if you have them.

The following examples provide a general overview of what information can be included in a living will. Of course, specific needs or varying state laws could change what the document includes. Living wills can usually include these sections:

  • Introduction with your personal information
  • Declaration of your “sound mind” and informed opinions on health care decisions
  • Health care instructions regarding the provision or withholding and withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment
  • Additional directions regarding your health care wishes

Some states also allow you to name a health care agent within your living will document. Others may use a health care directive that combines the living will with a health care power of attorney. You can leave instructions for your health care and appoint a trusted person to have access to your medical records and make decisions in accordance with your wishes if you lack the capacity to do so yourself. This person is sometimes also referred to as a “health care proxy,” “health care surrogate,” “medical attorney in fact,” or something similar depending on where you live.

Instructions for End-Of-Life Care

Your health care directive and living will typically includes a section for medical treatment preferences. You can state your wishes regarding:

  • Withholding and withdrawing or providing life support and other choices about treatment that prolongs the process of dying
  • Do not resuscitate (DNR) directive
  • Comfort care treatment and treatment for pain
  • Artificial nutrition and hydration (tube feeding)
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Dialysis
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Blood transfusions
  • Primary health care facility and attending physician preferences
  • Organ donation
  • Body disposition such as burial or cremation

Customizing Your Living Will

Your medical choices are yours alone and can usually be included in your health care directive and living will as long as they comply with your state laws. It is common for much of your document to be customized for your specific needs. This can include checking or initialing boxes to select your choices and writing out specific instructions.

It’s often helpful to make your wishes known to your family members and friends now. This helps to avoid conflict and confusion among your loved ones later. Also, if you choose to name a health care agent, they will likely feel less burdened by guilt if they are certain they are making the same treatment decisions for you that you would make for yourself.

Some examples of customized medical instructions include provisions regarding:

  • At-home or hospice care preferences
  • Feelings about religious practices or customs
  • Life-sustaining treatment during pregnancy

Finalizing Your Health Care Directive and Living Will

It is important that your document contains some basic information and is signed according to the requirements in your state. This helps to ensure your document is legal and can be followed by your health care provider, health care agent, or other individuals making decisions on your behalf.

You should print your document and carefully review it before signing. You may need to initial your choices in certain places. Generally, to finalize a health care directive and living will, you should sign in the presence of witnesses and/or a notary public. You should also have your witnesses and/or notary sign and date to acknowledge you are of sound mind and under no duress and that you signed in their presence. States typically have laws prohibiting your health care agent, health care provider, or attending physician from acting as your witness. Some states may have other restrictions.

Once you have finalized your health care directive and living will, you should give a copy to your health care provider and include it in your medical records. If you choose to appoint a health care agent, you should also provide them with a copy. You should store your health care directive and living will in a safe place.

Keeping Your Living Will up to Date

It is important to make sure your living will is up to date with your current health care wishes. Various life changes and conditions may alter how you think about your medical care and your choices may change as you grow older. Generally, you are able to revoke your living will:

  • In a signed and dated writing
  • By verbally stating your intent to revoke

Once you revoke your current living will, you can create a new one with any changes or additional instructions you would like to include. Your state may have additional requirements for revoking or revising your living will.

Making Your Own Health Care Directive or Living Will

Once you’ve thought about the kind of medical care you prefer, you can create a health care plan that clearly states your instructions and wishes. You can use our Health Care Directive and Living Will forms, as well as other estate planning documents, to create legal documents that comply with the law in your state. Simply choose your state from the dropdown menu, and the forms will automatically be generated making it easy to create your estate plan or health care directive and living will from the comfort of your home.

Estate planning solutions to fit your needs.

Written by:

FindLaw Staff

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

Jordan Walker, J.D.

Contributing Author