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Is a Living Will Different than a Last Will and Testament?

The short answer is yes: A Living Will is different than a Last Will and Testament. A Living Will states your preference as to end of life decisions. A Living Will is the document that allows you to express your wishes to your health care representative and future medical providers.

A Living Will comes into play when (1) the patient has an incurable injury, disease or illness; (2) death will occur within a short time; and (3) use of life-prolonging procedures would serve only to artificially prolong the dying process. A Living Will directs that the life-prolonging procedures be withheld or withdrawn and that the client be allowed to die naturally with only comfort care provided.

According to the Indiana statute, a Living Will allows the client to select from at least three options. The client may choose among (1) a definite preference that he/she desires artificially supplied nutrition and hydration; (2) a definition preference that he/she does NOT wish to receive artificially supplied nutrition and hydration; and (3) deference to the client’s health care representative who will make the decision for him/her.

An individual’s Last Will and Testament is much different than a Living Will. The Last Will and Testament governs the final disposition of an individual’s probate property. In other words, the Last Will and Testament is principally concerned with an individual’s property, rather than his/her healthcare.

Both documents, the Living Will and the Last Will and Testament, are quite different, but both play an important role in handling an individual’s affairs during a difficult time in an individual’s family.