There’s a major misconception that a will (last will and testament) is all you need at the end of your life, but do you know what a Living Will is? We have previously discussed Wills vs. Trusts and which you may need, but there are differences between a last will and testament and a living will that you should know. 

Living Will vs. Will

A will, or last will and testament, lists how your assets will be dispersed and distributed after your death. This will name beneficiaries to your money, property, and any personal effects that you wish to hand down to someone in particular. If you have minor children, a will may also list who you would like to take care of your children if anything happens to you. 

A living will differs from a will in that it is a document that expresses your wishes about your care if you were to become incapacitated and can’t make decisions for yourself. A living will lists out your choices for end of life care. This of course isn’t a fun topic to think about, but it’s important to think about what you would want to happen in the case you can’t make medical decisions for yourself. If you aren’t able to express yourself, how do you want your care handled? 

Decisions To Include In Your Living Will

  • Do you want prolonged care if you aren’t able to feed yourself?
  • If you can no longer breathe on your own, do you want to continue care?
  • How do you want to manage pain?
  • Would you want a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order or DNI (Do Not Intubate)?
  • Do you want to donate your organs?

These decisions will keep your family from having to answer these questions during a stressful time. 

A part of your living will may be naming a Medical Power of Attorney. This document names a person of your choice to carry out your medical decisions. Sometimes situations arise that may not be a part of the decisions that you’ve made in your living will, this is where your Medical Power of Attorney would come in to make these decisions on your behalf. 

Not sure if you have a living will? Let us review your estate plan or help you get started. Contact us with questions or to start the process.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.