Long Island residents may be putting off estate planning decisions because
of the many complexities involved. There are various types of trusts and
wills. What is the difference between them? Here is some information that
will hopefully make
estate planning less confusing.
Many people have heard of a "will" and a "living will."
A will is a document that identifies a person's wishes to be executed
after death. A living will, on the other hand, discusses a person's
health care wishes in the event that the individual becomes incapacitated
and unable to make decisions on his or her own. The individual may appoint
a power of attorney to carry out these wishes.
Another document is a living trust, also called a revocable trust. This
allows the individual to hold assets while he or she is still alive. The
document can be revoked or cancelled at any time before the person's
death. When the person dies, a trustee handles the assets and ensures
they are distributed according to the trust.
The difference between the two is that a living will is valid only for
handling health care decisions, whereas a living trust can be used throughout
one's life. A living trust works to preserve assets while a person
is still alive. It is not used to assist with medical decisions, but a
person can appoint a power of attorney to handle medical decisions.
A living will must be created when a person is mentally capable of doing
so. Not everyone needs one, but it is a good document to have if a person
has strong wishes regarding what should be done if that person were to
be in a vegetative state. Some may wish to live, while others may prefer
to be taken off life support. An experienced estate planning attorney
can help individuals decide what documents are necessary to carry out
Source: The Epoch Times, "Living Will vs. Living Trust," Arleen Richards,
Dec. 5, 2012