Justin Jeppesen: A Living Will and a Will Are Not The Same Thing

Is a Living Will and a Will the same thing? No.

But, why if a Living Trust and a Trust can be used interchangeably?

Great point and I wish it were that way. Or, better yet, let’s call a Living Will by a different name and here is why.

A living will is not a Will for probate purposes, such as beneficiaries of your estate and guardians of your minor children. Therefore, it is not a Last Will and Testament.

Rather, it serves to direct (which is why I refer to it as a health care directive) your health care power of attorney and medical staff as to whether or not you want to be kept alive using extraordinary means when certain criteria are met. Extraordinary means often includes artificial life support, artificial hydration and artificial nutrition.

A living will is used as a guide for the power of attorney or medical staff on how to act at the time it is necessary to do so. You get to make that decision before the need arises.

If you do not have a Living Will, or your Living Will does not state otherwise, an Idaho court will presume that you 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 a 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.