Do You Need a Will or Living Will?
We all reach a point in our lives when we begin thinking about the future and the legacy we will leave behind.
Maybe you are worried about your health. Or, perhaps you have children and you want to take steps to make sure they are taken care of should something happen to you.
Even if you are in the prime of your life, meeting with an estate planning attorney can give you peace of mind. You can plan your will or living will and rest easy knowing your estate is in order and your loved ones will be cared for.
But, what is the difference between a will and a living will? And, which – if either – should you have in place?
To schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your unique needs, call the Ben T. Roberds and the Roberds Law Firm at (479) 464-0904.
Preparing a Will
Writing a will, or “last will and testament,” allows you to give specific individuals or institutions the authority to administer your estate following death.
A legal will can specify last wishes and someone to carry them out, transfer assets to beneficiaries, and name guardians for minor children.
Additionally, a will allows you to:
- name an executor
- name property managers (for minor children’s property)
- provide instructions for how taxes and debts should be paid
Only property under your name is covered in a will. If you wish to make plans for joint property and accounts, you may wish to pursue a trust.
Preparing a Living Will
A living will – sometimes referred to as a “health care directive” – allows you to name someone to manage your healthcare and make life support decisions in the event you are unable to do so for yourself.
Living wills may also provide instruction for:
- end-of-life preferences
- organ and tissue donation
- hospice care
- declining interventions “that will only serve to prolong the dying process”
You can make revisions to your will or living will after it is created.
Wills and living wills both require a court proceeding called a probate. The probate process provides certain safeguards, specifically court oversight, while an estate is being settled.
What About a Trust?
In addition to legal wills and living wills, an estate lawyer can help you understand and navigate trusts and living trusts.
Many individuals use a trust as an alternate route to name beneficiaries for their property. Trusts do not need to pass through probate court and remain private, whereas wills are part of public record.
But, trusts and wills don’t allow for the same legal steps. And, a trust isn’t a replacement for a will or living will.
Learn more about trusts and living trusts.
Wills and Living Wills Attorney Ben T. Roberds
If you would like to discuss a customized will or living will, or if you have questions about what steps you need to plan your estate, call Bentonville estate attorney Ben T. Roberds for a complimentary consultation. (479) 464-0904