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Last Will vs. Living Will… What’s the Difference?

Have you ever wondered whether there’s a difference between a Last Will and a Living Will? In my experience, many people get them confused or, in some cases, think they’re the same thing. Well, they’re not! They each serve a very different, but important, purpose.

A Last Will is a legal document that allows you to give your assets to the persons or charities you wish upon your death, and you can appoint an agent (a personal representative) responsible for handling the legal process to make the distributions. So… a Last Will is not even effective until you pass away.

A Living Will, on the other hand, allows you to say, in advance, how you want to be treated in an end-of-life scenario. You can give directions to your family and to medical providers about whether you should be kept alive artificially, and for how long, or whether you want to be permitted to die naturally without prolonging the process.

A Last Will and a Living Will are two very different documents, one controlling the process of asset distribution at your death and the other controlling and directing your medical care during your lifetime. Both are very important because they provide clarity and direction in a time of great stress and grief.

If we can help you, a family member or a friend create estate planning documents that will provide you with peace of mind and give comfort and direction to your family in a difficult time, please contact us at or (813) 244-7758.


Ross Spano

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