This post is coauthored by Barbara Bavis, instructional librarian, and Robert Brammer, senior legal reference specialist
Contemplating end-of-life issues is not anyone’s favorite topic, but it is important to do so in order to ensure your final wishes are carried out. As such, it is not surprising that our patrons show an interest in these matters, which led to our previous post on health care advance directives. In this post, we will focus instead on issues surrounding the disposal of assets rather than healthcare considerations, and explore different resources that can assist you if you are contemplating drafting a will.
Please keep in mind that these resources are not a substitute for contacting a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction, because not only is the law surrounding wills driven primarily by state law, but also the methods by which you create an estate plan can have significant tax consequences.
For True Beginners
- Nolo’s Simple Will Book, by Denis Clifford
- Wills and Trusts in a Nutshell, by Robert L. Mennell and Sherri L. Burr
- Quick & Legal Will Book, by Denis Clifford
- The Executor’s Guide: Settling a Loved One’s Estate or Trust, by the Nolo Press
- The American Bar Association Guide to Wills & Estates: Everything You Need to Know About Wills, Estates, Trusts & Taxes, by the American Bar Association
- Wills, Trusts, and Estates: Including Taxation and Future Interests, by William M. McGovern, Jr., Sheldon F. Kurtz, and David M. English
Drafting Guides (with forms)
- Page on the Law of Wills, including Probate, Will Contests, Evidence, Taxation, Conflicts, Estate Planning, Forms, and Statutes Relating to Wills, by William J. Bowe and Douglas H. Parker
- Murphy’s Will Clauses: Annotations and Forms with Tax Effects, by Joseph Hawley Murphy, assisted by Beverly Massy and Stowell Rounds
- Anderson’s Estate Planning Forms and Clauses, by Jeffrey A. Schoenblum
- Stocker on Drawing Wills and Trusts, by Robert W. Sheehan and Michael S. Schwartz
- Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements, by Michael L.M. Jordan
- Wills, by Lawrence P. Keller
- A guide to International Estate Planning: Drafting, Compliance, and Administration Strategies, edited by Leigh-Alexandra Basha
To locate additional resources that are specific to your state, please use our catalog and browse subject headings. Click “search options,” “browse,” and use the drop-down to select “SUBJECTS beginning with” or “SUBJECTS containing,” and then input a subject heading using one of the examples shown below. Finally, click on a result and you can browse the materials classified under that subject heading.
Some of the subject headings that may be of interest include:
- Estate Planning–[State Name]
- Estate Planning–United States
- Wills–[State Name]
- Wills–[State Name]–Forms
Locate Resources in a Library
To locate these resources in a library near you, visit Worldcat, type the title in the search box, and from the results page, select a result. Finally, on the catalog entry page, scroll down to the “Find a copy in the library” section, enter your zip code (or city and country, if outside of the United States), and click the “Find libraries” button to find libraries in your area that have the resource.
We hope this post was useful to you. If you have any questions, please use our Ask A Librarian Service.