Living Wills and Living Trusts are often confused. Bothcontain the word “living” and are part of an estate plan. Though there are a few similarities in the two documents, the purpose of the two documents is very different.
What a Living Will and Living Trust Have in Common
- They are both estate planning documents.
- They both are effective while you’re alive (hence, the term “living.”)
- They both keep you in control.
How a Living Will and Living Trust are Different
- A living will is effective only if you are in an end-stage medical condition.
- A living trust is effective as soon as you sign it.
- A living will is an advanced medical directive that states that you do not want to be hooked up to machines or be subject to other medical heroics if you are in an end-state medical condition.
- A living trust is used to organize your assets, avoid probate, appoint successor trustees, disability planning, and provide provisions for sub-trusts for your surviving spouse and children.
It would be in your best interest to consider having both a living will and a living trust. Consult with a qualified estate planning attorney to see how these documents may fit into a customized estate plan for you and your family.