Living Will vs. Last Will: What Are The Key Differences?
The last will and a living will can be confused for one another, but they are not the same by any means. Each serves entirely different purposes on the legal spectrum and have their use for those who want to protect their estate as well as their financial well-being.
When one is considering a living will and last will, it is important to understand the fundamental differences between these two legal documents. Also, an attorney that offers estate planning in San Diego should be contacted to explore options and see which type of will applies to what estates.
The Last Will
The last will or the last will and testament is a legal estate planning document that will detail how one’s property is distributed upon their death. It can also have a guardian listed for children under the age of 18 and name those responsible for managing as well as distributing assets from the estate.
If there is no valid will in place, the state’s probate laws will determine who can inherit the estate’s assets. These beneficiaries may not be ones that the property’s owner would have originally gifted their estate to.
Each state has their estate laws in regards to how a will can be executed. The state will also have provisions about the person’s state of mind at the time they are drafting their last will and testament. Witnesses are always required for any will to be valid.
How The Last Will Works
A will is only effective after the death of the testator. The will names an executor, and the executor will be in charge of administering the estate and carrying out all wishes listed in the document.
The executor must gather all assets as they are listed in the will, keep records for accounting purposes, pay applicable state and federal taxes, and satisfy the outstanding debts of the estate before distributing assets to beneficiaries.
The Living Will
The living will is one that serves as a medical directive. It states what will happen when one becomes incapacitated or too ill to make medical decisions on their own. A living will can deal with issues that include respirators or feeding tubes. They may also include information about the use of heroic measures and life-sustaining equipment.
The living will is only effective when the person becomes incapacitated. Then, the individual that they have named in that will takes over and makes medical decisions based on what is stated in the living will. This authorized person only has the power to carry out the wishes designated in the living will and rarely can they override any decisions in writing.
Hire An Attorney For Estate Planning In San Diego
Those that want to explore options for a living will, or last will need to employ the services of an attorney for estate planning in San Diego. The laws regarding California’s estates is complex and is constantly evolving with the times. An attorney is well-versed in these estate laws and can ensure all living wills and last wills are drafted in accordance with applicable legislation to keep them valid.
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