Most of us understand the importance of having a will in order to protect ourselves, our children’s future and our assets. However, it can be highly confusing to understand just which will is necessary. One thing that some people struggle to understand is the difference between a will and a living will. It is important to understand the difference between the two, because they serve very different purposes. Let’s explore what the difference between a will and a living will actually is.
You should really look into having an estate plan, and this is made up of two separate elements. Part one is the element that speaks for you, when you are incapable of communicating for yourself anymore. You may not be able to speak for yourself anymore if you are highly disabled, incapacitated or ill. Part two of the estate plan discusses your wishes after you have died. The living will, as such, is the first element of the estate plan. A regular will is the second part of the plan. The main issue in the living will discussed whether or not you want to stay on life support if there is no way you can recover anymore. When you set up a living will, your family will never be in the situation where they have to determine whether or not you would want to have the machines switched off. This is very different from a regular will, where you simply tell everybody how you want your belongings to be divided. Besides a division of estate, it can also describe care instructions for minors. It is almost like an instruction road map. A will follows specific state laws as well.
As you can see, the difference between a will and a living will is very clear. They are, however, equally important. You should never feel as if you have to choose one or the other, but always opt for both. This is what creating an estate plan is all about. One final thing to remember is what the legal status of your living will is in the state in which you live. There are some states where it only needs to be witnessed and signed by two people, others want it fully notarized and others still want both. The majority of states also determine that a living will isn’t valid if you are pregnant. However, it will be automatically reinstated as soon as the baby is born. Hence, if you change your mind, you must update it immediately.