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The Differences Between Wills and Living Wills

Sept. 10, 2020

It’s important to have an estate plan whether you are enjoying your golden years on a Florida beach or are a recent college graduate beginning your adult life. Ideally, you will have both a will and a living will as part of the plan.

What You Need to Know About Wills

A will allows you to dictate where your assets go and who will raise your minor children after you die. It also allows you to appoint someone to oversee your estate during probate. Generally speaking, anyone who is 18 and older and of sound mind can create a will. It may also be necessary to have the document signed by at least two witnesses who don’t have an interest in your estate. If you don’t have a valid will when you die, state law will determine how your estate is administered.

What You Should Know About Living Wills

A living will allows you to articulate the level of medical care that you would like to receive if you can’t express those thoughts on your own. The document may specify whether you would like to receive treatment to prolong your life such as being put on a respirator. As with a traditional will, the living will must be signed by two witnesses to be considered valid, and those two witnesses generally cannot be your personal physicians.

If you have questions about meeting your basic estate planning needs, an attorney may be able to help. This person may offer insight into the potential benefits of having a will or living will, and a legal professional may also be able to assist in the process of drafting or reviewing these documents. It is possible for a legal representative to serve as your estate executor during the probate process.