How to Prepare for Death: Supplies and Documents Needed to Make a Will

1st Nov 2023

How to Prepare for Death: Supplies and Documents Needed to Make a Will

The comment, "A good plan is like a road map; it shows the final destination and the best way to get there," by author H. Stanley Judd is good advice for attorneys instructing clients on how to prepare for death. Estate planning with clients usually requires walking them through every step, and this usually begins with a will checklist guiding them on what to include in a will.

When your clients exit your office with their will-planning documents, you want them to feel confident they have a quality product. Reinforce your firm's status by using custom-printed will planning supplies.

You're probably thinking, "That's expensive," and from many suppliers, it is. The average law firm spends 45-50% of its earnings on overhead costs, including its phone system, rent, non-lawyer salaries, and office supplies.

While we can't help you negotiate rent with your landlord, we can show you how to get quality custom-printed legal supplies at an excellent price.

Client Packet on How to Prepare for Death

During the initial consultation with your clients, convince them you are the best attorney for the job by both your legal knowledge and your organizational skills. One way to do this is by presenting every potential client with a How to Prepare for Death packet.

Pull everything out of the packet, with the forms you need them to complete before you write their will. Explain all contents in the packet and why the will planning documents are important.

The packet should include information about the types of estate planning documents they need so handling the estate after their death is easy for loved ones. This list should consist of the following, along with an explanation of its purpose:

  • Financial durable power of attorney
  • Health care durable power of attorney
  • Living trust
  • Trust
  • Will

Include instructions for your client on properly storing their important papers and legal documents, having them all in one location such as a fireproof and waterproof safe or safety deposit box. Suggest keeping additional copies at home and instructing proper family members where the documents are stored.

Family members must know where you keep health care and financial power of attorney documents in case of an unforeseen event in which the client cannot communicate their wishes.

Finally, your client should review their estate plan yearly to make necessary changes to the executor, trustee, or bequeaths due to asset changes, death or divorce, etc.

Additional Information for Executor or Trustee

Include in the preparing for death packet the information your client needs accessible for whoever handles their estate once they pass. While they don't need to hand over this confidential information now, upon their death, the trustee or executor needs to distribute and close the estate effectively.

Where appropriate, custom-printed forms for the client to complete add a nice touch to the presentation. The better you prepare your client, the easier their decedents will manage their estate following their death.

Your name and contact information custom printed on as many documents and envelopes as possible reinforce your name in their minds for any legal assistance necessary in handling the estate or making a will for themselves.

Will Paper

Wills need to be printed on quality medium-weight bond paper that will last for decades. Most offices use standard copy-printer paper for the majority of their needs. Bond paper weight varies from 16-24 lbs.

Calculation of weight is done by measuring 500 sheets of paper in its uncut state. If 500 sheets weigh 20 lbs., it is classified as a 20 lb. bond. If you move to a 24 lb. bond weight when preparing a will, it is slightly thicker and has a more decadent feel than its lower-weight counterparts.

The classification of bond paper dates back to the 1800s when it was used for creating official documents, including government bonds. This paper consists of 20-100% cotton rag fiber, resulting in more strength than paper made from wood pulp.

Estate documents printed on bond paper make an impressive impression when presenting them to your clients. Whether you select plain or black ruled paper, having the first page engraved with "last will and testament" adds a professional touch.

At one time, most legal documents were printed on 8-1/2" x 14" paper. In the U.S., the standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper size has become customary.

The reason for using the longer legal size was that contracts and other lengthy documents fit better. There are jokes about attorneys needing legal-size paper because they require 14" to do what the average person can fit onto 11 inches.

Whichever length you select, you'll want to coordinate all documents in a complete estate plan so that each stands independently but looks like part of a group. If you're preparing an entire estate plan, don't miss the engraved Declaration of Trust first page to coordinate with the will.

Will Covers and Will Envelopes

You may be wondering whether you need both a will cover and a will envelope. For the classiest presentation, you need both. A will cover is designed to have the will stapled inside and is scored for easy folding. You then take the folded will and place it into a coordinating envelope to make it easy for your client to store.

Last Will and Testament envelopes are gummed so your client can seal the contents from prying eyes until death.

Custom Printed Will Planning Supplies

Custom printed will supplies protect estate planning documents, ensuring your client can quickly locate them when appropriate. Whether a stand-alone will or an entire trust plan, present it inside a custom-printed envelope:

  • Declaration of Trust
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Last Will and Testament
  • Living Will
  • Quitclaim Deed

Add your firm name, address, and phone number to your envelopes so the estate executor, family members, and trustees can contact you if necessary.

Make Your Firm Stand Out

Showing clients how to prepare for death is the perfect opportunity to put your name and contact information in their hands. has everything you need in quality estate planning documents.

We can provide a sample of any product and email proofs on custom orders before printing. What are you waiting for? Shop for custom-printed will supplies today to keep costs down while showcasing professional will and trust documents.