FAQs: What is the difference between a living will and a last will?

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FAQs: What is the difference between a living will and a last will? | Attorney Mario Godoy | Lombard Estate and Probate Legal Group

We’ve all seen and heard references to a Last Will and Testament. And more frequently, people are learning about the benefits of a living will. But what is the difference between a living will and a last will?

In general, a last will describes what a person wants to do with his or her estate when he or she dies. A living will is a legal document that describes what is to be done if you are left incapacitated in a terminal condition because of a disease, injury, or simply old age.

How to Create a Last Will

A living will is used to communicate to your healthcare provider whether you want death delaying procedures if you have a  terminal condition. A person can make a will at any time after they turn 18 years old. The key requirement for any will is the signing and attestation:

• a will must be in writing

• the testator must sign it in the presence of at least 2 credible witnesses

• a testator may order another person to sign on his or her behalf as long as the witnesses see this occur

The person who writes the will, called a testator, can modify, amend, or revoke a will at any time as long as they follow the correct legal procedures.

How to Create a Living Will

A person who creates a living will can revoke a living will by destroying the document, writing a declaration to revoke the living will, or making an oral rescission in the presence of a competent witness. For a living will to be legally enforceable in Illinois, there are some requirements:

• the person’s wishes must be in writing

• the author of the living will must sign the document or direct another person to sign the will on his or her behalf

• 2 witnesses must personally see the testator sign the document and sign it on their own

Which Is Better: A Last Will or a Living Will?

Both types of wills are for different issues. A Last Will describes what your wishes are for your estate. A Living Will communicates what you want for healthcare in the instance that you are terminally ill.

Deciding what type of estate planning is better for your situation depends on many circumstances. Your choice of estate planning can impact:

• how quickly your heir receive your assets

• how much money it will cost to settle your estate

• whether your estate will be public record or confidential

To help you decide on the best way to protect your family, you should consult an experienced estate planning lawyer. Proper estate planning is the best way to protect your loved ones and give them peace of mind after you are gone.

Estate planning is preparing for the future. Contact Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 630-800-0112.