Will vs Living Will – what’s the difference?
A regular will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death. It allows you to name an executor who will be responsible for managing your estate, and to specify beneficiaries who will inherit your property. A regular will only takes effect upon your passing, and it does not address healthcare decisions or the possibility of incapacity.
A living will, on the other hand, is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes for medical treatment in the event that you become unable to make decisions for yourself. It typically includes instructions on life-sustaining treatments, such as artificial respiration or hydration, and can also address organ donation and other end-of-life issues. A living will only takes effect if you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, and it is designed to provide guidance to your family and medical providers in these situations.
In summary, while a regular will is focused on managing your assets and distributing them after your passing, a living will is focused on expressing your healthcare wishes and providing guidance to your family and medical providers in the event of incapacity. Both documents are important components of an estate plan and should be considered as part of your overall planning strategy.
Which one matters more?
Both a regular will and a living will are important documents in an estate plan, and each serves a distinct purpose.
The regular will is essential for determining how your assets will be distributed upon your death, and naming an executor who will be responsible for managing your estate. This document can provide peace of mind, knowing that your wishes for the distribution of your assets will be carried out after your passing.
The living will, on the other hand, is essential for ensuring that your healthcare wishes are followed if you become incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions for yourself. This document provides guidance to your family and medical providers on the types of treatments you would like to receive or avoid, and can help alleviate the burden of decision-making for your loved ones during a difficult time.
Therefore, both the regular will and the living will are important documents that matter equally, as they serve different but equally important purposes in an estate plan. It is recommended to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals.