There are a lot of people who are confused when it comes to a living will and a last will and testament. These are 2 different documents and cannot be used interchangeably. It is important that you know what makes up a living will and a will to best understand when each will be used.
What Is A Living Will?
A living will is a legal document which provides people with instruction regarding medical care the person would like to receive if they are incapacitated. The living will, also known as an advance directive, will be used when the person is unable to communicate their preferences to medical staff. Some of the details included in a living will are whether the person will want life-sustaining medical treatments to be completed or breathing and feeding tubes to be used.
In a living will, an attorney in fact will be named to act as a representative of the will’s owner. They will have a power of attorney which allows them to communicate the contents of the will to medical professionals. A living will has the ability to suppress the will of the family members as it is legally seen as the voice of the owner.
What Is A Will?
A will or last will and testament is a different legal document which provides instructions about what will happen to a person’s estate after they pass on. There are people who die without a will and their estate will be left in interstate and state laws will be applied. This will change the distribution of their estate based on the state laws and not on their wishes.
A will states how the person would like their estate to be distributed and will name legal guardians for their minor children. The will should also identify a person who will manage the financial affairs of the minor children. It is recommended that you create and update a will each time you have a child.
The primary difference between a living will and a last will and testament is when they take effect. A living will takes effect when a person is still alive, but incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes in regards to medical treatment. A last will and testament will take effect on the death of the owner and will state how their estate is to be distributed.