Good question! We actually get that question quite a bit in our San Diego, California Estate Planning Law Office. A Will is a legal document used to transfer assets that you own in your individual name and to name an Executor to administer your estate. It is effective AFTER you die and is also used to name guardians for minor children. A Living Will is a health care document that is effective DURING your lifetime. You make a health care decision ahead of time. Both are important documents and must be part of your estate plan.
The Living Will is a legal document that tells your doctors what to do when you no longer can. The Living Will is effective during your lifetime if you are in a persistent vegetative state, irreversible coma, or terminally ill and at the end of life. This document states that you do not want to be kept alive by heroics and machines if you are at the very end of life. If your health is not dire, the Living Will will not be effective. It’s called an advanced directive because you are giving directions in advance. You are making a medical decision for some time in the future when you won’t be able to make medical decisions.
For the Living Will to be effective, medical professionals must know about it. It has to be readily available if you are in a tragic car accident. You do not need to live in fear. Call our San Diego, California Estate Planning Law Office with all of your Living Will (or Will) questions. 858-792-5988.