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What Is A Living Will?

  • By: Starr Law Offices
  • Published: December 2, 2016


In this video blog, you’ll get the answer to this frequently asked question: What is a Living Will and Does it Have Anything to do with a Living Trust?

Hi, my name is Ted Starr. I’m an attorney in Pinellas Park, Florida and I’m here to answer some questions. The question is: What is a living will? And is it anything similar to a living trust? Well I’ll tell you what the question ought to be – What does the word “living” have anything to do with these documents? A living will is your instructions to doctors about end-of-life care. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it has nothing to do with your will. A will is instructions about transfer of assets and sets up a personal representative or executor. It also lists out your assets and lists who should receive those assets. That’s your will. That’s a document often done in an attorney’s office and usually involves witnesses and a notary. A living will – instructions to doctors of end-of-life care, sometimes called a do not resuscitate order – has nothing to do with living. It has not much to do with your will. Sometimes people do a living will when they’re preparing a will because it’s appropriate to talk about end-of-life issues at that point. But the living will is a separate document. It is a separate issue for people. Some people approve or disapprove of living wills and they have personal decisions about what they want to have happened when they’re ill and no longer able to make those types of decisions. So a living will gives you the chance to do that in writing now. But this word “living” doesn’t really apply. Similarly, I’ve heard the term “living” in terms of trust, like it’s a living trust. Well, there’s a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. They don’t really have a living trust because, again, you’re making some end-of-life planning. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with living. So when it comes to these documents as “living” in the name, be careful what you’re getting into. Be careful what you are doing; read carefully. When it’s all said and done, hopefully, those documents will help you.

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