A living will is different than a last will

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2022 | Estate Planning

The estate planning process enables an Oregon resident to create a plan to meet short and long-term goals in accordance with applicable state laws. One individual might choose to include a certain document that another omits. A last will and testament is perhaps the most common estate planning document. A living will is another type of document (known in this state as an advance directive), and understanding the differences between these two types of wills can help simplify the creation of an estate plan.  

The two main basic types of wills are a living will and a last will and testament. It is possible to incorporate one, both or neither into an estate plan. There are numerous issues that may make one or the other relevant to a particular person’s planning process.  

A living will pertains to events that occur while a person is still alive 

A last will and testament addresses the distribution of the testators’ estate after the estate owner dies. It typically names beneficiaries and the assets they are to inherit after the estate owner dies. A living will, on the other hand, is intended to take effect during the lifetime of the estate owner. Its terms are to be carried out if the estate owner becomes incapacitated or is in a condition where life is at risk.  

Living wills concern end-of-life care, organ donations, etc. 

Medical professionals refer to a living will if a patient needs end-of-life care. Instructions to donate organs or to withhold extraneous measures of life support may be included in this document. In conjunction with a living will, many Oregon estate owners sign durable powers of attorney, which authorize a person they trust to make medical decisions on their behalf. An experienced estate planning attorney can help someone determine which legal documents would best fit his or her needs when creating a comprehensive estate plan.