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What is the Difference Between Trusts and Living Wills

No one likes to think about their death or incapacitation, but it is necessary to plan for those circumstances to ensure not only that decisions made are based on your personal beliefs and preferences, but also to prevent undue stress and hardship on your loved ones resulting from trying to “guess” at what you would want or arguments over the management and distribution of assets and finances.

You probably are already familiar with the concept of a will, as being a legal document that provides instruction on how one’s estate and assets should be distributed posthumously. However, you may not understand the other instruments that can be written to help carry out your wishes while you may still be alive but unable to make certain decisions for yourself.

A trust is a legal document that gives another person or entity the authority to make certain decisions on your behalf and, unlike a will, can go into effect as soon as it is written. Meaning, the person designated as your trustee, may begin making those decisions while you are still living. These directives are often related to the distribution of finances and assets.

There are two primary types of trusts that can be created. A revocable trust can be changed at any time by the originator. Whereas, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed once written without the consent of the trustee/beneficiaries nor can assets included in the trust be managed by the originator. There are pros and cons to both types of trusts. Contact your attorney for further clarification and to decide which one might suit your needs best.

A living will’s primary purpose is to designate a decision-maker and provide instruction specifically pertaining to your care and health directives, in the event that you are unable to make those decisions for yourself or if your attorney-in-fact is not willing or able to make those decisions on your behalf. These include your wishes regarding medical treatment, life-saving measures, and organ donation.

Provide yourself and your loved ones with the peace of mind that an already stressful situation will not be compounded by a multitude of indecisions and speculation. There are many resources available to help you with composing the necessary legal documents, but we recommend contacting an attorney to be sure all matters and potential situations are properly addressed.

The lawyers at Hoover Kacyon, LLC., are dedicated to supporting our clients. We deliver the highest quality legal representation from a team of professionals while also providing excellent customer service. Call us at 330-922-4491 or contact us online to make an appointment.