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"What is the difference between a Will and a Living Will?"
Posted by Bill Hunter, Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, 1/15/15
People are often easily, and understandably, confused by the terminology of “Will” vs. “Living Will.” However, the documents are not nearly as similar as one would think, and are actually two completely different documents with two completely different purposes. A Will, also known as a “Last Will and Testament,” is a device used by a testator (the person creating the Will) to control how his or her assets and property should be distributed upon death. This is the document that most people think of when they hear the term “Will” used.
A “Living Will,” on the other hand, is a document used to create advanced directives regarding how you would like certain medical and life-prolonging measures to be handled in the event of your end of life incapacitation. A living will allows you to plan in advance decisions such as: whether or not to withhold life-prolonging measures, whether or not to receive artificial hydration and/or nutrition, and whether or not you would like to donate organs. A living will also allows you to control the point at which your directives shall become effective (i.e., upon being diagnosed with an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in death within a short period of time, upon entering a vegetative state, etc.).
While having completely different roles, both Wills and Living Wills are powerful tools and important parts of any estate plan. If you have additional questions regarding these documents, or would like to speak to an attorney regarding drafting these documents on your behalf, call one of our estate planning lawyers today at 704-412-1442. We can help.
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