What is a Living Will? Is it similar to a Living Trust?
To answer the second question; no, a living will is not similar at all to a living trust.
The first question requires a bit more insight. A living will is not a Will for probate purposes, such as beneficiaries of your estate and guardians of your minor children. Rather, it is a document that serves as a directive (which is why I refer to it as a health care directive) to a treating physician, and the world at large, that the person executing it does or does not want to be kept alive using extraordinary means, which generally includes artificial life sustaining procedures, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition.
A living will is used by the person when he is unable to make the health care decisions at the time it is necessary to do so. You are making the decision before the occasion arises.
Without the existence of a living will stating a contrary intent, a court will presume a person wanted extraordinary means used to be kept alive. This can lead to long extensive hospital stays and expensive health care bills.
The court can order extraordinary means to be used to keep the person alive, even over family objections. This is why a living will is such an important piece to your complete estate plan. We make these plans now, so that when the time comes, we are not requiring our loved ones to make these decisions for us.
Living Wills should be used in addition to durable powers of attorney for health care in order to assure that a person's wishes are most likely fulfilled in these most dire of situations.
Schedule a conversation with Justin Jeppesen to take the first step towards creating your complete estate plan! With our Free Initial Consultation we help our clients explore their own situations and plan for their futures. If you have more questions, we'd love to help! Contact Jeppesen Law now: (208) 477-1785.