Wills & Living Wills
Basic protection - For you and for your property
Wills & Living Wills
What's the difference?
If you haven't heard of a Living Will before, you might be wondering how it differs from a last will and testament. If you are familiar with living wills, you might be wondering why we talk about them together. The answers are quite simple.
The last will and testament
The last will and testament is a basic protective mechanism and a critical component in a full-fledged estate plan. The purpose of the last will and testament is to describe the manner in which you want manners handled upon your death. These instructions may include specific wishes regarding funeral arrangements as well as the handling of any property not granted to a beneficiary. At Forsythe Law, we often use wills to assist with moving assets into a trust upon death. This is one of the many reasons trusts, and other estate planing tools are useful in addition to wills.
The living will
The living will serves as a special healthcare directive for medical providers. This directive documents your wishes for medical care in the event that you are not able to communicate those wishes yourself. For example, should you not want your life prolonged artificially, that intent can be described in a living will. It is common for a living will to designate a healthcare proxy, an individual that could consult with medical professionals and make informed decisions based upon the wishes in the living will. The living will, combined with other estate planning documents, is a powerful tool in documenting your wishes and enforcing them.
A last will and testament serves to enforce your wishes after death. A living will serves to do the same when you are alive, but may not be able to speak or yourself. Together, these mechanisms give our customers confidence in a plan that is designed to work for their unique experience and desires.
Do you need both?
In short, we believe the answer is yes. Wills and Living Wills are essential documents in any estate plan, but they shouldn't stand alone. A properly executed estate plan will leverage these tools along with power of attorney mechanisms, trusts, etc. to cover a variety of scenarios and protect a variety of assets.
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