While they partly share the same name, a will and a living will are completely different legal tools.
A will is used to distribute a person's estate after they have died, whether it be to family members, charities or to pay off debt from when they were alive. A will can also include a trust, designate guardianship for any children that you may have, or include any provisions that you wish to include when distributing your estate. Legally, a will also has to go through probate, the process of wrapping up your estate and giving your property to the people listed in your will, which includes being overseen by a probate court.
A living will is used in medical situations to alert the doctors and medical staff of the wishes of someone who is still alive, but is unable to communicate their own wishes. So, for instance, if you are in a coma and your living will says that you would like to be kept alive, the doctors know to keep you on life support for as long as possible. It is helpful mostly to your family, so they don't have to make difficult decisions about whether you live or die when you are unable to make the decision yourself. Living wills are also much easier to prepare and execute than a will, since there is no court involved, only the doctors and your power of attorney.
Both wills and living wills can easily be completed through an online legal service, which could save you money on numerous legal bills. If you want to set up either a will or a living will, check out our reviews of the top online legal services to see if there is one that is right for you.
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