What Is the Difference Between a Will and a Living Will?

 Posted on January 24, 2023 in Estate Planning

Dallas Estate Planning AttorneyCreating an estate plan is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are known and respected, no matter what may happen in the future. An estate plan may contain multiple different types of documents, including a will and a living will. Both documents play an important role in making sure that your wishes are carried out correctly. However, there are key differences between them that must be taken into account when planning for the future.

What Is a Will?

A last will and testament is a legally binding document that states who will inherit your assets after you pass away. It will also name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and if necessary, you may appoint a guardian for your minor children. Your executor will also be responsible for settling your debts and any other monetary obligations. While your will can be amended at any time while you are alive, it will only take effect upon your death.

A will is one of the most basic elements of any estate plan. Without a valid will in place, state laws will dictate how your property and possessions should be distributed after your death—which may not match up with what you would have wanted. For this reason, having an up-to-date will is critical to ensure that your wishes are followed after you pass away.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is different from a traditional will in two key ways: firstly, it does not deal with assets or possessions but instead focuses on end-of-life decisions; secondly, it will take effect while you are still alive rather than after you die. In other words, it allows you to specify your medical preferences in advance if you become unable to communicate those preferences due to illness or injury. A living will only goes into effect if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, and you may also designate someone to act on your behalf if needed.

Your living will can cover everything from whether or not life-sustaining treatments should be administered, to your organ donation preferences, to what kind of pain management should be used. This can provide peace of mind both for you and your loved ones by ensuring that everyone involved understands exactly what kind of care you wish to receive when your death is imminent.

Contact Our Irving Wills and Living Wills Attorney

Creating an estate plan can seem overwhelming at first glance, but breaking it down into individual parts can make the process much more manageable. Knowing the difference between a will and a living will can help make sure that all aspects of your estate plan are covered. This will ensure that when the time comes, everything will run smoothly according to your wishes without any confusion or conflict among your loved ones. Taking the time now to create the proper estate planning documents can provide you and your family with peace of mind later on down the road.

At Andrew Dunlap Attorneys, PLLC, we can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that will meet your needs. Contact our Dallas estate planning lawyer at 972-807-6357 to learn more about our legal services and to get started on building the estate plan that will provide you with peace of mind about your future.



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