Within any legal specialty you are going to find a great many acronyms and rather wordy descriptions defining procedures, instruments, and protocol. Estate planning is no different and because of the financial nature of this discipline there is a lot of ground to cover for anyone who has an interest in the strategies estate planning attorneys routinely employ. Once you understand the basic definition of something like a trust or a will you will invariably find that there are multiple types of these vehicles that are intended to serve different purposes.
The simple will or what has always been known as the “last will and testament” is the most widely understood estate planning document that exists. Everyone knows that a will is used to state your wishes with regard to the way that you would like your assets to be passed on to loved ones after you pass away. But there’s another type of will called a “living will” that has nothing to do with financial matters.
A living will involves medical preferences. In this document you state what types of health care procedures you would be willing to accept and those that you would prefer to deny should you become incapacitated at some point in the future and unable to communicate your wishes. How you feel about the possibility of being kept alive on artificial life support systems should you fall into a terminal or non-responsive condition is the issue that is usually central to a living will.
Most people have pretty strong opinions about how they would like to be treated if they were in this type of situation, and being forced to make these kinds of decisions would clearly be excruciating to your loved ones. Through the execution of a living will you take the guesswork out of it and protect yourself and your family members should you ever become unable to make medical decisions in real-time.