The terminology around different kinds of wills can be confusing. A last will and testament is essentially the same thing as a will. However, there’s also a living will, which differs from a will or last will and testament. In fact, it’s recommended that people have both a living will and a last will and testament. Here’s the distinction.

What Is a Will or Last Will and Testament?

Wills of the last will and testament variety are designed to determine what happens to a person’s estate, comprised of their assets, after their death. It spells out who should get what. It’s an important way to protect your estate and your heirs. Without a will, the probate court will have the final say in how assets are distributed.

Another important aspect of this type of will is providing guardianship for orphaned minor children. A guardian can be appointed in a will. Without that appointment, the courts will be responsible for naming the guardian.

What Is a Living Will?

While a last will and testament protects a person’s estate after they did, a living will protects the person in the event that they’re incapacitated to such a degree that they can no longer specify what kinds of medical treatments they do or don’t want, even though they’re still alive. This type of will allows someone to refuse extraordinary treatments such as intubation or feeding tubes.

There are two good reasons to have this type of will. Families can be in conflict over whether or not to provide these kinds of treatments if no living will exists. Having the wishes in a legal document can reduce stress and allow family members to focus on grief. Second, in many places, not having a living will means that medical personnel are required to perform extraordinary medical interventions that could prolong the length of someone’s life without providing any quality. Living wills override that requirement.

Let Me Advise You

If you or someone you know needs to start planning for wills of any kind, callme at 770-889-3911.