The Difference Between a Will and a Living Will

October 24, 2021 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

The Difference Between a Will and a Living Will

It’s a common misconception that wills and living wills are the same things. In reality, they have different purposes. A will is a legal document that specifies how an individual wants their property distributed after death. A living will is a document that outlines medical treatment for an individual in the event of incapacitation. 

Both documents serve essential purposes, but it’s necessary to know what each one does before deciding which one you need. An experienced succession law firm in Shreveport, LA can help you make this distinction. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between wills and living wills. 

Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament, also called a will, sets out instructions about something that should happen after death. It can provide direct instructions on how you wish to distribute your belongings. You can include assets such as money, property and personal effects.

Wills are particularly significant if you are a parent. You can name a guardian to take care of your minor childrens’ physical and financial care. The named guardian will assume responsibility for your child until such time when they can take care of themselves, usually at age 18.

If you die without a will, your state’s intestate laws govern how to distribute your property. This process, called probate, can take months or years. In probate, the state laws confirm and disperse your assets amongst relatives or friends you may have listed as a beneficiary somewhere.

Living Will

What is a living will, and how does it help you plan for the future? A living will is a legal document also sometimes called an “advance directive.” Living wills provide instructions regarding medical treatment in case of incapacitation or illness.

The key difference here is when you use them. A last will and testament focuses on what happens after your death, but a living will is concerned with what happens while you are still alive. You can use it to declare what you would like to happen to you if you can’t tell someone yourself at the time.  

You should note that not all states allow this type of legislation, so make sure your state permits such written plans before making one.

Protect Yourself and Your Family

It’s essential to have a plan to take care of yourself and your family in the event of a significant accident, illness, or even death. Consider contacting a qualified succession law firm like Theus Law Offices to help you draft a living will or a last will and testament. You can relax knowing you and your loved ones are taken care of if something happens to you.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.


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