The various documents you create when planning for the end of your life are often confusing. There is a will, and there is a living will. The two wills are different documents, and they are created for different purposes.
A living will is a legal document that lets your doctors and healthcare providers know which medical treatments you do or do not want to receive at the end of your life. A living will only goes into effect if you are no longer able to make those decisions yourself. For example, if the doctor determines you are permanently unconscious, terminally ill, or have become incapacitated due to an accident, then your living will let the doctor know your medical wishes.
Living wills are a type of advance directive.
A will, or a last will and testament, is a legal document that lets others know how you want your property and money distributed after you die. It can also name the guardians you want for your children, if you should die while they are still your dependents. In your will you can also appoint an executor to carry out the wishes that are stated in your will.
A living will goes into effect while you are still alive, but you are not able to make your own decisions, as determined by a medical doctor. The living will only describes healthcare wishes. If you die, then the living will is no longer in effect.
On the other hand, a last will only goes into effect after you die. It is about property and assets, not healthcare. It cannot be put into effect if you are still alive.
My Living Wishes helps you navigate the confusing documents and issues you deal with during end-of-life planning. Let us know when you are ready to get started with your planning.