Estate Planning Law

Living Will vs. Will: What’s The Difference?

You want to plan for the future, but you’re feeling just a bit overwhelmed by all of the different terms associated with life planning. At Doane & Doane, we understand how confusing things can be when it comes to preparing for the future. And we’re here to put your fears and confusion to rest. 

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a written declaration by a competent and mentally competent person that expresses the person’s preferences regarding the circumstances under which he or she should be treated if he or she becomes critically ill or injured.

In many cases, you’ll already have a will. If you don’t, or if your current will isn’t enough, you can use a living will as a backup. However, a living will isn’t the same thing as a will. A will is a legal document that states who gets what if you pass away. A living will, on the other hand, is a written document that can guide medical personnel and other healthcare providers in the treatment and, if necessary, the withdrawal or discontinuation of life-sustaining procedures.

A Will Is a Legal Document

A will, as the term is commonly used, is a legal document that states who gets what if you die. It can be a great convenience, as it allows you to specify who will take care of you and your loved ones if something happens to you. It can also prevent potential hassles and delays in probate proceedings. However, a will isn’t always enough. If you have minor children, you should also consider getting written instructions known as a living will.

A Living Will Is Like a Healthcare Power of Attorney

A living will is similar to a healthcare power of attorney in that it allows you to choose who will direct your medical care if you become incapacitated. However, a living will also let your doctor and other healthcare providers know what you want according to your instructions. This can help avoid potential misunderstandings or miscommunications that could lead to additional costs or poor medical care.

A living will generally states that if you become incapacitated and can’t make health care decisions for yourself, your family should decide what medical care you receive or don’t receive. This includes the withdrawal or discontinuation of life-sustaining treatments.

A Living Will Is Like a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

Like a will, a living will is a legal document. However, a living will is not a traditional will. A will is a document that names your estate executor to collect your assets and distribute them according to the will, while a living will names your healthcare power of attorney to make healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated.

A living will should include information about your health, medications, artificial oxygen supplies, and other items that the healthcare power of attorney should be able to act on if you become incapacitated. Depending on your health status, this might be a very important document that you want in your life.

Important Notable Differences

Here are several important differences between a will and a living will:

1. A will is valid only after your death; a living will can help you avoid situations that could cause you to die prematurely.
2. A will only controls your assets. A living will controls your health, too.
3. A will is often public, meaning anyone can read it. A living will, on the other hand, is private and can only be read by those to whom you give permission to read it.
4. A will is drafted to avoid potential problems. A living will is used to deal with potential problems.
5. A will is a set of instructions for your loved ones. A living will is a set of instructions for your healthcare providers.

Writing a will can help you make the difficult decision about who should take care of your loved ones if you become incapacitated. It can also help you avoid potential hassles and delays in probate proceedings. However, a will isn’t always enough. If you have minor children, you should also consider getting written instructions in your living will.

Speak with a Wills Lawyer at Doane & Doane Attorneys at Law

At Doane & Doane Attorneys at Law, we understand that planning for your future can be confusing and even intimidating. That’s why we strive to make your life easier by providing comprehensive legal counsel in Palm Beach County.

If you’re considering drafting a will or living will, we invite you to call our Wills lawyers today for a consultation. You may reach us by phone at 561-656-0200 or via our contact form.

The information in this blog post is for reference only and not legal advice. As such, you should not decide whether to contact a lawyer based on the information in this blog post. Moreover, there is no lawyer-client relationship resulting from this blog post, nor should any such relationship be implied. If you need legal counsel, please consult a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.