A living will or declaration concerning life-sustaining procedures is effective only when a patient is diagnosed with a terminal and irreversible condition. In effect, the living will can prevent the maintenance of a person on a respirator, etc. The living will is effective at a time when the person is physically (medically) alive but cannot survive without extraordinary medical procedures.
DO YOU NEED A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?
A will is not effective until death; generally, the last one written by date is the one which will control, so it is usually a good idea that the last will made revoke all prior wills. It is not possible to make either an oral will or a will with someone else. A will may be olographic, which means entirely written, dated and signed in the testator’s handwriting; or it can be statutory, which means it is executed with certain formalities in the presence of a notary public and two witnesses. A will controls all the property (assets and liabilities) owned at the time of death, whatever and wherever, except for property that generally passes by beneficiary designation such as life insurance, annuities, IRAs and pension benefits. The estate of one spouse cannot be controlled by the will of the other spouse. Wills also can address estate or inheritance tax matters as well as many others beyond the scope of this brochure.