What’s the Difference Between a Last Will and Testament and a Living Will?

On Behalf of | Sep 24, 2018 | Uncategorized

The Last Will and Testament and Living Will are two completely different documents with similar names. Both documents state your intentions, desires and preferences should you become incapacitated or die.  Both documents are recommended as part of a comprehensive estate planning strategy.

The Last Will and Testament is a document that takes effect after your death and names who your beneficiaries are, usually family and friends or charities, and who gets your property. Last Will and Testaments can be in the form of a general bequest: “Everything to my spouse, then to my kids equally,” or a specific bequest: “My Warhol painting to my son, James.” Most Wills include a combination of the two.

In a Last Will and Testament, you also appoint an Executor to be in charge and to make sure that all of your wishes are followed. A Last Will and Testament is specific to you and is one of the most important estate planning documents everyone should have. Another option is to invest in a Trust if you have young children who you need to provide for, or if you have substantial assets that you want to keep out of the Probate process. Not sure whether you need just a Last Will and Testament or take the additional step to also create a Trust? Call to set up a consultation at 614-221-0944 and get your individual questions answered.

A Living Will is a health care document. It allows an individual to state their preference about life-sustaining treatment if the situation arose where they were terminally ill or permanently unconscious and can no longer make health care decisions. If the patient has created a Living Will they get to direct whether or not artificially supplied hydration and nutrition and life sustaining treatment is provided.

A Living Will does not affect the right to have pain medicine or comfort care. It simply allows an individual to make the choice now so that their next of kin or the person with power of attorney for health care doesn’t have to guess at what the individual would have wanted want in that situation.

The Last Will and Testament and Living Will have totally different functions, but they are both essential estate planning documents.  If you have questions or want to learn about the other ways you can make a plan for estate, please do not hesitate to contact me at 614-221-0944 or [email protected] to get your questions answered.

DISCLAIMER:  Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP presents the information on this web site as a service to Internet users, including members of the public. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the particularized advice of an attorney.  People seeking specific legal advice or assistance should contact an attorney.