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Comparing living wills with living trusts

Minnesota residents may rightfully assume that a living will is an essential part of an estate plan. However, they should also strongly consider including a living trust as well. Despite the similarity in their names, living wills and living trusts are completely different legal devices.

Also called an advanced medical directive, a living will addresses issues and concerns related to end-of-life decisions. Individuals who have a terminal illness are expected to die within a short frame of time and have the right to decline medical care that can only be expected to delay the dying process. The living will applies only to measures that will be used to keep their body alive, not any measures that can help them remain comfortable as they pass away.

A living will is not the only type of advanced medical directive. A life-prolonging procedure declaration can be used by individuals who want to ensure that every measure possible is applied to keep them alive.

A living trust is a type of revocable trust that can provide a number of benefits to the grantor while they are alive and after they pass away. However, many people tend to use a living trust as an effective way to transfer their assets to their loved ones.

An estate planning attorney may advise a client about the different types of legal devices that can be included in an estate plan. Legal counsel might consider the circumstances of the client before recommending certain types of wills and trusts. Ultimately, the goal is for the client's wishes to be honored.

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