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What is the difference between a will and a living will?

Thinking about the future can be both an inspiring and fearful. One has hopes for the future, but at the same time, individuals are often faced with more serious thoughts about the future, such as what will happen after his or her passing. Drafting an estate plan might be an important step to take, but it is one that is vital. It can include necessary documents that spell out your wishes regarding who gets what and your end of life wishes.

What is the difference between a will and a living will? A will is a legal document that specifies how the property and assets of an individual will be distributed after his or her death. A living will, which is also known as an advance healthcare directive that contains the instructions regarding medical treatment in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. Both of these documents are binding; however, the purpose of them varies drastically.

Each document names specific people. A will names an executor for an estate. This is the person that distributes assets after the death of the testator. A living will, on the other hand, manes a health care proxy, specifying what life-prolonging medical treatments should be used. A finally difference between these two types of wills is the face that a will is used after an individual has died. On the other hand, a living will is used when an individual is incapacitated.

An estate plan can be challenging to draft; however, by understanding the documents that can make it up, individuals are able to use these documents to their advantage. Individuals have rights when it comes to planning for their future. By obtaining legal guidance, it is possible to draft a valid and proper estate plan that memorializes the wishes of the testator.

Source: Diffen, "Will vs. Living Will," accessed May 10, 2018

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