If you are considering creating an estate plan or are already knee-deep in the estate planning process, you have likely heard of both a “living will” and a “living trust” as two essential documents that you should include in your comprehensive plan. Despite their similar names, these two very important legal tools are quite different from one another and serve different purposes.
A living will is not actually a will at all, but rather a legal document that allows you to provide doctors with medical instructions regarding the care you would like to receive in the event that an injury or illness should leave you incapacitated. It allows you to approve or deny certain types of medical treatments in advance, even if it means that you will die as a result. Living wills both supersede and work alongside a durable power of attorney for health care or a health-care proxy, which allow you to name another person to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Conversely, a living trust is a revocable trust that you create while you are still alive that is used to facilitate the smooth transfer of assets to your beneficiaries without the need for probate. Creating a living trust involves transferring your property to the trust, which will then “own” it. You then name yourself as the primary trustee and a person of your choice as a secondary trustee, allowing you to manage the property as you please during your lifetime. In the event of your incapacity or death, your successor trustee will automatically step in to continue to manage the property on your behalf or distribute it to your beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust.
Consult with a Nassau County Estate Planning Lawyer
While nobody wants to entertain the thought of their own death, it is an inevitability and must be properly planned for ahead of time. If you are unsure which documents you should include in your estate plan, contact the knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at Davidov Law Group. Having served clients throughout Nassau County, Queens County and the Surrounding Areas for more than 25 years, our team of advocates can help you prepare for life’s “what if” scenarios and allow you to continue forward with peace of mind.
Call (516) 806-4414 or schedule a personal consultation online today to review your legal options.