Not many people know the difference between a living will and last will and testament, but in actuality, they are different legal documents that serve separate purposes.
The following are some of the key differences between the two:
Living wills, also known as advance directives, are legal documents that provide instructions on your medical care in the event you become seriously ill or incapacitated and you are unable to communicate your preferences yourself. For example, a living will can set forth your desires when it comes to receiving life-sustaining medical care or breathing tubes. A living will also designates an attorney in fact who through a power of attorney communicates with physicians and other heath care providers regarding your wishes.
Last Will and Testament
A last will and testament, or will, is a legal document that typically provides instructions on what should happen to your assets in the event of your death. In Indiana, without a will, you will die intestate where your assets will be divided according to Indiana intestate laws, distributing your property to others depending on their relationship to you. Last wills also usually name those who will serve as guardians for your minor children and those who will carry out the will’s provisions through the probate process in the event of your death.
When These Legal Documents Take Effect
Besides the fact that these two documents serve different purposes, another key difference between them is when they take effect. While a living will takes effect when you are still alive but incapacitated, a last will and testament comes into play in the event of your death.
If you are thinking about which legal document might best serve your purposes, you might want to consider drafting both. You never know when you might become seriously ill or incapacitated, and unfortunately, some people suffer untimely deaths. But no matter your age or circumstances, if you want peace of mind that your wishes and desires are followed after death or while incapacitated, it is a good idea to set out your preferences in a living will and last will and testament sooner rather than later.
Valparaiso Estate Planning Lawyers
An experienced Indiana Estate Planning Lawyer can listen to your particular needs, advise you of your options, and help you draft a set of legal documents that clearly reflect your needs and desires. If you would like to discuss your situation, one of our experienced and knowledgeable Indiana Estate Planning Lawyers at CCSK Law, LLC are here to help you. Call us today at (219) 230-3600 or fill out the form provided on our website and schedule your free consultation.