What is the difference between a Will and a Living Will?

Last Will TestamentIn a Will, otherwise known as a Last Will and Testament, you provide for the disposition of your property after you die. 

A Will is a legal document that lays out your wishes clearly and precisely related to distribution of your assets after you pass away.  Additionally, a Will can appoint guardians for minor children.  

In your Will, you will choose your executor, whose responsibilities will include managing your affairs, paying outstanding taxes and debts, and making distributions as appropriate to those entitled to a share of your estate after you die. (If you don't have a Will, the state will determine who will receive your assets.) 

A Living Will is not the same as a Will nor does it serve the same purpose.

A Living Will is a type of advance medical directive. It permits you to make medical decisions in advance so that in the event you become incapacitated, your wishes are known.

The Living Will is the most common advance medical directive and applies specifically to your wishes that pertain to end-of-life decisions.

In Connecticut, in order for your Living Will to be operative, you must be unable to make informed decisions and you must be either in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious. These criteria are determined by the attending physician.

If the Living Will is operative, then life support systems can be withheld or withdrawn including artificial means of nutrition and hydration. Certain formalities must be complied with when you sign or revoke a Living Will. Otherwise, it is possible that the Living Will may not be legally valid.

If you need assistance in creating or reviewing your Will and advance healthcare directives, contact us.  We would be happy to help.

Related Information:
DNR and a Living Will: What's the Difference?
Ethical Wills: The Most Meaningful Gift You Can Leave Behind
The Importance of Advance Healthcare Directives in a Pandemic
What is the Connecticut MOLST Form?
How to Take Charge of our Healthcare Choices with Advance Directives

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