So often people come to my office because they want a “Living Will.” After questioning what they want, it happens that what they want is a “Will” or also known as Last Will and Testament. A “Living Will” and a “Will” are not the same thing and have very different purposes.
A Living Will is the directive by which the person decides if they want to be kept alive by artificial life if there is nothing medically possible to be done to save their life. This directive can be extensive or very general. It can express the person’s wishes with every detail or simply express the desire to not receive artificial life. Some may want to stay on artificial life for a reasonable period or a specific period of time may decide to continue on nutrition and pain medications, or any other specificity.
A Living Will is a very helpful document and, more than anything, it makes a decision in advance so that loved ones do not have to bear this burden at the most difficult moment.
On the other hand a “Will” or “Last Will and Testament” refers to the document that disposes of the person’s assets once the upon that person’s death. The Will provides for a Personal Representative (to administer the estate), which is the person who hires the attorney and manages the assets while the case is in court until the assets are distributed to the heirs or beneficiaries named under the Will. So, yes, the Will names who the person wants to receive the assets, what assets, amounts and in what manner.
A Living Will works when the person is still alive, while a Will or Last Will and Testament comes into effect when the person dies.
Thus, there is a big difference between the two documents and shall not be confused!
If you had any questions about this subject or still are confused about the two, feel free to leave the question below or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would like to hear from you!
Life Planning & Beyond