Living Will or Last Will and Testament , What’s The Difference?

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A living Will is part of any well prepared estate plan in Oklahoma. Are you interested in estate planning but completely lost on where to begin? Are you confused as your try to piece together all the legal jargon and make sense of what everything means? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone. As people acquire more wealth and age, they contemplate how best to protect their assets and their final wishes for when they pass away. Most people find themselves interested in drafting a last will and testament. Do you know the difference between a last will and testament and a living will? Read below to see how they’re vastly different.

What Is A Last Will And Testament?

A last will and testament is better known as a will. A will is a document that details how you’d like your assets to be handled after you die. This includes who you want to be the executor of your estate. Your assets are the property that’s in your name. Any property in your name can be included in your will. The most common examples are furniture, your house, your car, and even pets. Other examples are your bank accounts and land. However, you cannot include property that’s jointly owned or rented.

You, as the will’s writer, are called the testator. The people who’ll benefit from your will are called beneficiaries. Anyone can be a beneficiary, including an organization. In other words, you’re not obligated to leave an inheritance to your relatives—you may leave it to a good friend instead.

You must meet certain conditions for your will to be valid in Oklahoma. For example, Oklahoma probate laws require that your will be written and signed by yourself and two witnesses. These witnesses should be present to observe you sign your will, and you should be present to observe them sign your will. Anyone can challenge the validity of your will, but this is rare. Typically, a person only challenges a will’s validity when they realize that they aren’t a beneficiary or they don’t receive what they expected. If the will is found to be invalid or there isn’t a will your property passes by intestate distribution. In either event the probate court decides if a will is valid.

What Is A Living Will?

A living will is distinctively separate from a last will in one significant way: a living will deals with how you want medical staff to treat you should you ever become unconscious. Any incident can occur that results in you becoming incapacitated, mentally ill, or unable to communicate freely. You should draft your living will as soon as possible. When you write a living will, you should consider:

  • If you want doctors to try resuscitating you if you flatline,
  • whether you want your organs donated should you die,
  • whether you’re okay with receiving a blood transfusion, and
  • any general preferences or important medical information you’d like to include.

A living will doesn’t need any witnesses for a judge to find it valid, but witnesses are always helpful.

Experienced Estate Planning And Probate Attorney Team In Oklahoma

For more information about wills and other estate planning documents, contact Kania Law Office’s experienced Oklahoma trusts and estate attorneys. We have has helped many clients establish custom estate plans to address their unique needs, providing effective management and distribution of their assets. If you or a loved one is considering estate planning, feel free to consult with Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or contacting us online today.

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