When you ask the typical person on the street about estate planning he or she may well tell you that the exercise is all about drawing up a last will to direct distribution of your assets after you pass away. Everyone is aware of the last will, and it is indeed the most commonly utilized vehicle of asset transfer in the field of estate planning.
But there are other ways to transfer assets to your loved ones, and the last will is not always the best choice. And beyond this, there is another type of will that should be included in your estate plan that is called a living will.
Some individuals are under the mistaken impression that a living will is a document that somehow arranges for the transfer of assets while you’re still alive. These people are probably confusing a living will with a living trust. In fact, a living will has nothing to do with financial issues at all.
A living will is utilized to express your wishes regarding medical decisions. People sometimes fall into incapacitated states and become unable to communicate with their physicians in real time. In some of these cases they are being kept alive via the use of artificial life support systems and there is no hope of recovery in the assessment of the doctors. With a living will you state how you would like to proceed if you were in such a position.
You can imagine how difficult it would be for your family members to make this decision in your behalf if they had no input from you. In addition, members of your family could disagree regarding the best course of action and this makes a horrible matter that much worse. You can circumvent this possibility by simply executing a living will with the assistance of an experienced, licensed elder law attorney.