Many people get confused over the differences between a last will and testament and a living will. These are separate types of legal documents that fill different needs. Elder Care Direction is available to help you understand these documents as well as others that might be important when you are planning your estate.
What is a living will?
Also known as an advance directive, a living will is a document that gives instructions about the types of medical care that you want to receive in the event that you become unable to communicate your preferences because of a serious illness or incapacitation. Living wills may include information such as whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatments such as breathing tubes or feeding tubes.
You can name someone in your living will to represent your interests. This person can then talk to the medical professionals and doctors about your wishes as you have expressed them in your living will.
What is a last will and testament?
Many people refer to a last will and testament as a will. It is a type of document that gives instructions about how to dispose of your assets after you die. If you pass away without a will, your assets will be passed according to the state’s intestacy laws instead of according to what your wishes might be. You are also able to name someone to serve as a guardian for your minor children as well as someone who can manage their financial affairs.
People who write wills choose who will serve as the executors of their estates. The executors have multiple responsibilities, including gathering and inventorying property, keeping records, paying debts, paying taxes, and distributing the property according to the wills’ mandates.
Living will vs. last will
Living wills and last wills take effect at different times. A last will and testament won’t be effective until after you die. Living wills become effective while you are still living but have suffered an incapacitating injury or illness.
If you are wondering which of these documents that you need, you should have both. each gives you the ability to make certain that your wishes are followed.
When to write a living will and a last will and testament
Even young people can benefit from having a living will and a last will. It is impossible to predict what the future might bring. Having legal documents in place that can let others know what your wishes are is a good idea.
A living will and a last will and testament are just two of the estate planning documents that you might need. The staff at Elder Care Direction can help you to determine which types of documents might help you to meet your goals, and we can refer you to one of our trusted attorney partners. To learn more, contact us today to schedule an appointment.