In this week’s discussion on basic questions about estate planning in Vero Beach, Florida we are going to look at why almost everyone who creates an estate plan will need to make both a will and a living will. As foundational elements of a good plan, a will and a living will are indispensible. Though you are not legally obligated to create any kind of estate plan, creating a plan without both a will and a living will is a serious mistake. Let’s take a look at why this is.
What are living wills?
Living wills are a part of the collection of legal tools known as advance directives. You make a living will in anticipation of, or in advance of, losing your ability to make or communicate decisions. Living wills convey your medical wishes to your doctors and health care providers. As long as you make your wishes clear, and make your living will in compliance with specific legal standards, your health care providers are legally obligated to follow the directions you express in that document if and when you lose capacity.
What are wills?
Wills have nothing to do with what happens to you while you are alive. A will only exists to convey your wishes about what you want to happen after you die.
Through your last will and testament, you can make decisions about the types of inheritances you want to leave. You can also choose an executor who will manage your estate, choose a guardian for any minor children in your care, as well as make other choices.
As long as your will complies with Florida legal standards, you can make it whenever you like. You can also change the decisions you make in your will by adding a codicil, writing a new will, or by revoking your old will. Only legally capable adults can make a will.
Will I need both a wills and a living will?
Now that you know what a will and a living will do, you can see why your estate plan needs to include both of these tools. Should you choose, for example, to only create a last will and testament, your estate plan will not be complete. Your will in no way allows you to control what happens to you in the event you become incapacitated because it only takes effect after you die.
On the other hand, should you choose to only craft a living will, you’ll have no way to control what happens to your estate after you die. A living will does not allow you to make inheritance choices, nor does it give you the ability to control who manages your estate.