How A Living Will Differs From A Standard Will

Because estate planning involves preparing for an event that will only take place once it is not something that most people delve into in any great detail except when they’re actively engaged in creating their plan. So there are a lot of financial instruments that are commonly used by estate planning attorneys that the average individual is not familiar with. However, there is one estate planning vehicle that is universally understood, at least in its most basic form: the will or last will and testament.

As we all know the standard will is a document that is utilized to express your wishes with regard to the distribution of your assets after you pass away. But there is another type of will that is commonly recommended by estate planning lawyers that is called the living will, or in Mississippi, it is called a Physicians’ Directive, and there are times when some people confuse a “living will” with a “living trust.” A living trust is a vehicle of asset transfer that allows you as the creator, also called the trustmaker, settlor, or grantor, to have access to the resources in the trust while you’re still alive, but the living will has nothing to do with monetary assets at all; it involves medical concerns.

A living will is an advance health care directive that you can use to state your preferences with regard to medical questions that you could be presented with at some point in time when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself in real-time due to incapacitation. The issue that is most frequently at the core of living wills involves artificial life support and whether or not you would want to be kept alive through the use of feeding tubes and other extraordinary measures should recovery be deemed medically impossible.

You can imagine now difficult it would be for your loved ones to make these decisions in your behalf if they had no input from you, and worse yet disagreements could arise between family members at the worst possible time. The execution of a living will can alleviate this possibility and make sure that your own wishes are honored come what may.

Most living wills or Physicians’ Directives request that life-support be withheld or withdrawn if the signatory suffers from a terminal condition and is in a permanent vegetative state. However, the living Will can express whatever the principal’s wishes are, including a desire to be kept alive as long as humanly possible by any and all artificial means available. It is the principal’s “will” or desire about such matter that is being expressed.

About Ronald Morton

Ronald Morton is a Certified Elder Law Attorney practicing in the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning, probate and estate administration, asset protection planning, Medicaid planning, and Veterans benefits law throughout Mississippi.

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