In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Illinois and Missouri Elder Law attorney, discusses the difference between a living will and a will, and what each is used for.
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area from offices in O’Fallon, IL and the Westport area in St. Louis, and this is your Elder Law Minute. Have you ever had the experience that you’re talking about something and you’re really familiar with it, so what you’re saying seems simple to you but you get this look on the face of the person you’re talking to that says, “not so simple to me.” That leads me to talk about something that is simple to me that I realized not a lot of people understand, and that is what’s the difference between a will and a living will?
They’re actually two very different documents for two very different purposes. The purpose of a will is to determine: when you die, who is going to get what part of your state and also to determine who is going to be in charge of settling your affairs for you. A living will is a document that basically says that when it comes to life sustaining treatment at the end of my life, that I don’t want to be kept artificially alive. Now a living will isn’t a bad thing to have, but unfortunately, a lot of people think it’s enough and it really isn’t. What you really need is something called a Healthcare Power of Attorney.
Just because you are unable to make and carry out your own healthcare decisions, that doesn’t mean that you’re on death’s door. You may go years after having had a stroke or having Alzheimer’s where you need somebody to help make those decisions or just flat out make those decisions for you. It doesn’t mean that you’re about to die. You want to have important input into more than just not keeping me artificially alive, so you really need a Healthcare Power of Attorney so that you can be the one who gives somebody a sense of direction and also gets to choose the one who gets to make those decisions on your behalf.
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 or (314) 567-9292, or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.