Estate Planning and Wills: Legal Resources

Evanston Public Library has a wide variety of resources to help you plan your estate and write a will. In addition to a wide variety of books (available at call number 346.052), try these local resource:

Center for Disability and Elder Law

  • A nonprofit organization which provides legal services to low-income residents of Cook County, Illinois who are either elderly or who have permanent disabilities.   CDEL volunteer attorneys represent eligible individuals with a broad range of civil legal matters, including: Powers of Attorney, Guardianship, Wills & Probate, Landlord/Tenant, Collections, Special Education, Real Estate & Mortgage Foreclosure, Family Law, Financial Elder Abuse, Family Law, ADA Discrimination, and Consumer Fraud.
  • Phone:  312- 376-1880
  • Email:
  • Website:

Chicago Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Call-A-Lawyer Service:

  • The Chicago Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service has over 300 prescreened, qualified lawyers experienced in almost every area of law. Cost: $30, if you meet with the lawyer you are referred to.
  • Phone:  (312) 554-2001
  • Website:
  • You can also speak to a lawyer for free on the 3rd Saturday of every month, with the CBA’s Call-A-Lawyer program.  Call (312) 554-2001 from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon on the program dates to speak to a volunteer Lawyer Referral Service attorney for general legal advice and self-help strategies.
  • See website for after-hours lawyers available on call for Criminal Defense, Domestic Relations/Family Law, and Personal Injury.

Chicago Volunteer Legal Services

  • CVLS is an organization of over 3,000 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans. Our services are free, accessible and real. With 22 legal clinics across the Chicago area, hosted evenings and weekends at community organizations and churches, where you can talk with an attorney about your legal problem, CVLS works to ensure that everyone has access to justice, not just those who can afford it.
  • Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday
  • Phone:  312.332.1624
  • Website Address:

Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court Self Help Center

  • The Self Help Center has links to resources for self-represented (pro se) litigants appearing before the Circuit Court of Cook County. Topics include:
    – Finding An Attorney,
    – Family, Juvenile, Adoption and Name Change
    – Criminal Cases and Traffic Offenses
    – Lawsuits, Injuries, Small Claims and Debts
    – Going to Court
    – Housing
    – Self Help Resources in and around the Daley Center
    – Wills, Probate, Estates and Guardianship
    The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County also provides access to Cook County Court Forms and online access Case Documents from cases before the Circuit Court of Cook County. You can also find links to Circuit Court of Cook County and Illinois Court rules here.
  • Phone:  312-603-5030
  • Website:

Circuit Court of Cook County:  List of Free and Low Cost Legal Services

Cook County Law Library

  • Main Branch Location:  69 W. Washington Suite 1600 Chicago, Illinois 60602.  Phone:  312) 603-5423. Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Open Sat: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for attorneys presenting a current ARDC card and current photo ID, and for litigants presenting official court papers stamped within a year and current photo ID. Sun: Closed.
  • Skokie Branch: 5600 Old Orchard Road, Skokie, IL 60077. Phone: (847) 470-7298 Hours: M-F: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (closed for lunch 1-2 PM during COVID); Sat-Sun: Closed
  • The public can access the law library catalog online, access legal research online, view Cook County Ordinances online, contact reference staff for assistance with legal research, or visit the law library to access electronic resources such as Westlaw and Lexis, and to visit the library’s Self-Help Web Center.
  • Website:
  • Email:

Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services  (CARPLS)

  • Legal Aid Hotline for low-income residents of Cook County. Experienced attorneys answer questions on a wide range of civil law issues free of charge. Operates daily Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:30 pm and Wednesdays until 7:30 pm. Clients who do not qualify for free services may be charged a $25 fee. Referrals are given if in-court representation is required.
  • Phone:  312-738-9200
  • Website:

Free Legal Answers (

  • Free Legal Answers is a secure website ( where lower income Illinois residents can ask a lawyer for help with a legal issue. Qualified users post questions about civil legal problems then volunteer lawyers log onto the site and select questions to answer. It’s a virtual walk-in legal clinic.

  • FindLaw is a free online resource that provides legal information, lawyer profiles and a community to help you make legal decisions.  FindLaw has sections to help you learn about the law, find a lawyer, join an online discussion forum with other FindLaw users or chat with an attorney online, or find legal and business forms.
  • Website:

Gale Legal Forms – IL

Greater Chicago Legal Clinic

  • GCLC offers a variety of programs and services to meet the legal needs of underserved individuals and families in Greater Chicago. We provide quality legal representation to help with everything from divorce, domestic violence, and other family issues to economic and housing stability to environmental law. While some of our services are free, others involve fees on a sliding scale based on income. Services available in English and Spanish at several Chicago locations.
  • Phone: 312.726.2938
  • Website:

Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network

  • A statewide hotline that provides legal information, advice, brief services (including the preparation and review of legal documents), and referrals to veterans, service members, national guard, reservists, and their spouses and dependents.
  • CALL 855-IL-AFLAN (855-452-3526) TO TALK TO AN ATTORNEY if you are a veteran, service member, national guard, reservist, or spouse or dependent. Call to talk about discharge upgrades, benefits appeals, and civil legal problems like Family, Housing, and Consumer issues.

Illinois Legal Aid Online

  • Evanston Public Library partners with Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) as a Legal Self-Help Center.  A legal self-help center is a place where you can learn about the law, your legal rights, and how to go to court. If you have a legal issue, you can come to the Evanston Public Library to:
    –  use a computer for free,
    –  search online for answers to your legal questions,
    –  chat online with legal navigators,
    –  find and prepare court forms,
    –  get referrals for additional legal assistance, and
    –  get other help navigating the ILAO website and services.
  • ILAO is an independent nonprofit organization that provides web-based legal help and information for lower-income Illinoisans.
  • Phone:  312-977-9047
  • Website:
  • Contact Email:

Illinois Advance Directives Information and Forms

  • You have the right to make decisions about the health care you get now and in the future. An advance directive is a written statement you prepare that expresses how you want medical decisions made in the future should you not be able to make them yourself.  This website contains information about various kinds of advance directives (including Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Wills, and Mental Health Treatment Preference Declaration), as well as links to approved forms for these Advance Directives:
  • The State of Illinois also recognizes the right of adults to appoint an agent to make property decisions for them. This form can be used to designate agents to act on an individual’s behalf if the individual becomes unable to do so. This website contains the link to the approved short form for Power of Attorney – Property:

Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP)

  • The Chicago Bar Foundation Justice Entrepreneurs Project (JEP) is a network of independent lawyers who are committed to making quality legal services accessible and affordable for regular people by using set fees, offering flexible representation options, and leveraging technology to increase efficiency.
  • Lawyers in the JEP currently assist clients in the following areas:
    • Family Law – including divorce, spousal support, child support, custody, visitation and orders of protection
    • Landlord/Tenant – including eviction proceedings and security deposit claims
    • Consumer Law – including debt collection issues, consumer disputes and Chapter 7 bankruptcy
    • Estate Law – including wills, probate and guardianships
    • Employment Law – including discrimination and wage claims
    • Small Business/Non-profit – including business formation, contracts and intellectual property issues
    • Real Property Law – including foreclosure proceedings and real estate purchase/sale
    • Criminal – felonies/misdemeanors, traffic tickets, license suspensions and ordinance violations
    • Immigration Law – including visas, residency, family-based applications, naturalization, deportation and asylum
    • Social security disability
    • Education law
    • Personal injury defense
    • And more!
  • Phone:  312-546-3282
  • Website:

Legal Information Reference Center

  • Legal Information Reference Center is an online database designed to assist the general public in legal matters of all kinds. It includes exclusive full text for many top consumer legal reference books, as well as thousands of legal forms. Access through

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

  • Professional association of attorneys dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to seniors and people with special needs. Elderlaw Membership Directory can be used for referrals.
  • Address: 1577 Spring Hill Road, Suite 220, Vienna, VA
  • Website:
  • Phone: 703-942-5711
  • Fax: 703-563-9504

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