Living Will VS. Last Will

Living Will VS. Last Will: What’s The Difference?

5 Mins Read October, 10 2021 Posted by Sofia

Even though a living will and last will have similar names, the two documents are different hence serve various purposes. That is why you need to understand the difference between a living will vs. last will. The good news about this topic is that it is not complex. This article will shed more light on the differences between a living will vs. last will. 

You need to understand the best time to apply for each of these documents. The other important thing to know is when they are administered and the right time to make them. That is why this article takes the time to analyze the living will vs. last will. 

What Is A Last Will & Testament? 

A will or last will and testament refer to a legal document that describes how you would like your assets and other property to be distributed upon your death. The writer of the will is referred to as the testator. 

On the contrary, the organization or individuals who receive the assets are the beneficiaries. You can pass on any property that you own such as personal items, vehicles, real estate, and even bank accounts through a will. 

The will can also be used in nominating guardians for your pets, dependents, and children. It makes sure that you provide for all the individuals who are currently under your care just in case something happens to you. 

Wills can also be used in nominating executors. These are the people who carry out the wishes that you have outlined in your will. The executor distributes the assets to all beneficiaries, pays any outstanding debts or taxes, and closes your accounts among other responsibilities. 

For people who die without a will, the state-specific laws, otherwise known as the Intestacy laws, are used to determine the beneficiaries of your assets and property. It is good to have a will if you want to leave behind peace upon death. 

What this implies is that things will happen as you wish even when you are departed. All states have laws that determine how wills are executed. You will get provisions such as the requisite state of mind of the individual who is drafting the will otherwise describe as “Sound mind.” There should also be a certain number of individuals who are required to sign the document. 

How Long Will The Last Will Work 

Last will become effective after the person who is writing the will i.e. testator dies. The testator should name an executor of the real estate in the will. The responsibility of this person is to carry out or administer the provisions of the will. 

Before the executor distributes the property of the descendent to the beneficiaries, he has to gather all the property estate, keep accounting records, and pay any outstanding debts or taxes.  It is possible to change or revoke the last will at any time before the testator dies. The next section will help you to start understanding the difference between a living trust vs. will. 

What Is A Living Will 

Do you know living will definition? Living wills are legal documents that allow individuals to specify their healthcare preferences just in case they become unable to speak them out. For instance, you can get involved in an accident and you become unconscious. Therefore, the living will get into effect unless the person becomes incapacitated. 

A living will typically cover the preferences of the individual on several healthcare procedures. Examples include:

  • Blood transfusions 
  • Pain medication types 
  • Feeding tubes 
  • Organ donation 
  • Ventilators or breathing tubes 
  • Dialysis 
  • Life-sustaining medical treatments and life support 
  • CPR preferences etc. 

A living will act like an advance directive. Some people refer to a living will as an advance healthcare directive or medical directive depending on your place of residence. With a living will, you can help your loved ones to navigate through the hard medical decisions with a high level of confidence knowing that this is what you choose for yourself. 

Therefore, if you become incapacitated or seriously ill and you are unable to communicate certain decisions, the living will detail the medical directions that you would like to be followed. This gives you a clear insight into living will vs. last will. 

Living wills become effective when the people who wrote them are unable to communicate their preferred medical decisions. The person should also be in a particular condition that is stipulated in the state law. 

Also, you can authorize an individual to talk to the doctors and other medical practitioners with regard to what they can do and cannot do as per your living will. This is normally done using the healthcare power of attorney that is normally part of a living will. You can revoke or change a living will at any time when the individual is capable of doing so. I hope you got the answer of ‘what is living will’.

Living Will VS. last Will: What Are The Main Differences? 

The difference between will vs. living trust is very clear from the above description and this is typically their function. Last will direct asset distribution after the person dies. On the contrary, living wills provide a direction regarding a person’s medical care while still alive but are unable to communicate on his own. 

Therefore, the difference between living will vs. last will is very clear. Last will allow you to choose the individual who will inherit your assets and property once you are no more. Living wills, on the other hand, outline your healthcare preferences if you are unable to talk to your loved ones or doctor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I  know your mind is striking you with relevant questions regarding this. for this, I have worked on the most research questions. Now, give your eyes to them. Have a look

Q1. Is last will and living will the same?

A. No, they both are different than each other. Last will is a document that tells, what you choose after you pass away. On the other hand, living will speak about your future preferences. Never make confusion between will vs living will.

Q2. Do you need a living will and a will?

A. yes,  you need to have this, if you face a crucial health issue. It’s better to ensure your future. make this with the highest priority.


With all this information, you now have a clear understanding of a living will vs. last will. You could be wondering whether you need both documents. Creating both the last will and living will give your family a high level of peace of mind. It is good that you now know the difference between a living will vs. will. If you don’t know how to write these documents, you can always contact a professional to help you out.

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Sofia Kelly is a passionate blogger. She loves to share her thoughts, ideas and experiences with the world through blogging.

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