The Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament

estate planning lawyer Garden CityLiving Will

A living will is a medical directive outlining how a person wishes to be treated in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated and can no longer make decisions for themselves. A living will may address situations involving:

  • Pain management;
  • Refusal of cardiac resuscitation;
  • Refusal of mechanical respiration;
  • Refusal of artificial nutrients and hydration;
  • Refusal of medications;
  • Refusal of blood transfusions;
  • Withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment;
  • Withdrawal of a feeding tube;
  • Donation of organ, tissue, and other parts; and
  • Anything else an individual wishes to mention regarding the person’s care.

When executing a living will, a person is expressing whether he or she wishes their caregivers to take any means necessary to prolong his or her life, or to do nothing to prolong life. For instance, a terminally ill cancer patient may select to withhold specific treatments, such as the insertion of a feeding tube in the event that he or she is in a coma.

A living will must be a written document signed in the presence of two witnesses. A living will can be and should be given to physicians and a selected healthcare agent. In addition, it is important to discuss a living will with family members and loved ones. It is also important to store a living will in a safe place and let relatives know where they may locate the document.

Last Will and Testament

The last will and testament addresses how a person wishes his or her assets to be distributed upon their death. A last will and testament will set forth detailed information regarding the distribution of any property, vehicles, boats, tangible and intangible belongings, and life insurance, among others. A last will and testament may be revoked or replaced at any time and should be reviewed on a regular basis to reflect any life changes.

If you are in the process of planning for your future needs or the needs of a loved one, an experienced New York estate planning attorney can give you the legal guidance necessary to help plan for their future. From the simple to complex, the attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Associates are skilled in all aspects of estate planning and dedicated to representing their clients with diligence and compassion. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our Garden City estate planning lawyers at (516) 280-7105.

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