Wills and Trusts
Perhaps one of the most common reasons that individuals seek some form of estate planning by an attorney is for the development and implementation of a living will, last will or living trust. It is easy to confuse the three forms of documentation, but many individuals will learn that they each serve an integral purpose in estate planning and should be created as a part of future planning.
A last will serves as a testament to your wishes and desires for the disbursement of your assets, final requests and even to name guardianship of your children if applicable. Creating a last will ensures that not only are your wishes met, but that there is no need for your family to enter into any court debates over what assets are theirs and how your will may have been dictated. Your last will is finite and concrete, so it is always a smart idea to review and update it regularly for alterations.
The difference between a last will and a living will is the dictation of how you want your medical care to be managed in the event that you are still alive, but are unable to make decisions for yourself. When you create a living will you can appoint a trusted friend or family member to make vital decisions regarding your healthcare for you, and dictate whether or not you want life-saving efforts to be utilized or not. Typically when a living will is created not many people will change it, however reviewing your decisions and sharing them with your loved ones is still suggested.
A living trust is utilized in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself, such as in the event of necessary life support, and it serves as documentation of transference of properties and assets to those you choose. Last requests and child guardianship can all be discussed in this documentation, and it eliminates the need for civil courts among your family.
Creating and reviewing your wills and trusts is an important factor in proper estate planning, and can ensure that your wishes are always met, even when you cannot voice them.
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