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What is a Living Will?

By Howard C. Stross
May 05, 2014

Some people confuse the term living will with a last will and testament. A prior blog article discussed several different types of last wills and testaments. However, a living will is not a type of last will and testament because it has nothing to do with the disposition of your property after you pass away. Nevertheless, a living will is still an important part of your estate plan.

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that allows you to describe your wishes with regard to what medical procedures you want or do not want. This gives you a way to tell your family what you want ahead of time, which may avoid disagreements later on when you may not be able to speak for yourself. Stross Law Firm is located in Pinellas County where the Terri Schiavo case occurred. Mrs. Schiavo did not have a living will. If she had one, her family would have known her wishes.

When is it used?

A living will is not used if you are simply on a ventilator because you are recovering from surgery. This only comes into action if two physicians determine that you are not expected to recover from a terminal condition, an end stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state.

Include Disability and Incapacity Planning as Part of Your Estate Plan

When thinking about an estate plan, people primarily consider what will happen when they are gone. It is also essential to consider what may happen while you are still alive but can no longer take care of yourself. According to AARP, 70% of all Americans age 65 and older will need some type of long term care. Simply getting a last will and testament is not adequate. A comprehensive estate plan should include disability documents, such as a living will and a healthcare surrogate designation. As experienced estate planning attorneys, all of our estate planning packages include disability and incapacity planning documents.

This article is for information only and is not intended to provide legal advice. Would you like to include a living will as part of your estate plan? Call us at 813-852-6500 to schedule a free consultation with an estate planning attorney.

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