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What Is a Living Will?

Estate Planning

A living will is more commonly referred to as a “healthcare directive,” The main difference between a last will vs. a living will is that while a last will disposes of property after the decedent passes away, a living will sets out what medical procedures or processes an individual does not want used on them.

A living will, or healthcare directive is a document that describes your healthcare preferences. This document is also referred to as an “advanced directive,” and in times past, was referred to as a “do not resuscitate” According to the AARP, some of the considerations that a person may include in a living will are:

  • Whether they want to be resuscitated
  • Whether they want artificial life-prolonging procedures
  • Specific directions about what types of procedures they want, such as blood transfusions, artificial breathing, artificial hydration, and artificial nutrition
  • Whether they’d like to receive palliative or hospice care
  • Whether they want to be an organ donor or donate their body to research
  • Any other religious considerations

Most living wills are more-or-less generic, one-size fits all type of documents. If a client has their own specific personal, psychological, or religious wishes they should consider having an estate planning attorney create a custom living will which sets out these wishes with specificity.

When a person is planning for the end of their life, they may wish to die according to their personal values. For example, a living will can include preferences such as:

  • Whether they want to receive medication that may make their mind foggy
  • Whether they want to spend their last days at home or in the hospital
  • Whether they want to have their life artificially prolonged by machines

An experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you through all of the important considerations that go into drafting a living will. They are critically important to make sure your end-of-life medical care runs smoothly and minimizes the stress on you and your loved ones and ensures that your wishes are honored.

Trust Baxter Legal Services with Your Estate Planning Needs

The concept of planning for end-of-life is daunting. Our attorneys have worked with countless clients to think through all of the possible contingencies and make sure their wishes are memorialized in legally binding documents. Though there are significant differences between last wills vs. living wills, they are both critical components of a well-rounded estate plan. Contact

Call Baxter Legal Services at 425-686-0574 to speak with an experienced Washington estate planning lawyer today.