Will versus Living Will: What’s the Difference?

To start, what does one understand by the word Will? What do we also understand by the phrase Living Will? And what do we know to be the difference? That’s what this article hopes to break down for us all to get the literal meanings of all of these.

What is Will?

A Last Will and Testament, or as popularly known by most of us as Will, refers to how you would like your personal property and matters to be handled after you die/pass on.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will tells health care professionals about your life ending and all the wishes you desire as you still live.

This is a document that lets you make essential decisions related to your health care while you are still capable of making these decisions. This is before you become incapacitated, and you might not be able to make these decisions by yourself. This communicated to your professionals of health care if you would like to receive forms of life support like intravenous feeding or artificial respiration and other important aspects of your health care as you tend towards the path of death.

As you plan your estate, knowing what a Living Will is and all intricacies associated with what it is can be very important.

A Living Will lets you name someone else as your health care proxy or your agent. This gives them the power to make decisions about your medical health care. Some living wills also give you health care agents and give them the power to order an autopsy or to give out your organs after you stop living.

Your Living Will doesn’t begin to work till you become incapacitated. This lasts till you either pass on or fully recover. You could become disabled mentally or go into a coma. Your preferences for your treatment would all be laid out for your health care professionals to strictly follow.

A living will helps your relatives and family avoid handling legal costly battles on how best to treat you. It would also reduce all guilty feelings among family members that have conflicting ideas on your end of life treatment.

Difference between a Will and a Living Will

The difference between a Living Will, which automatically stops working after one dies, and the Last Will and Testament of a person, is that the former is not binding by the law until a person dies. That’s when the Will shall be enforced.

At times you might have heard people use both these terms as a particular term. But it would be better for you as a person to understand the difference between these two terms. And it’s necessary for you to make these documents part of your estate plan.