Wills and Living Wills

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I Need a Last Will and Testament?

Generally, the answer is yes.  We recommend that everyone prepare a Last Will and Testament in case their circumstances change unexpectedly prior to their passing.  But not everyone does need a Last Will and Testament.  It depends a lot on how much you own, what kind of property you own (both real and personal), how you own it (jointly or individually) and if you have any dependents.  If you do not have any dependents and the property you own will automatically pass at your death to another person by operation of law or a contract, then you may not need a Last Will and Testament.  There are many exceptions to this, which is why it is best to consult with an attorney to help determine if you need one or not.

I Already Have a Last Will. Do I Need a New One?

That depends on whether you have had any major changes in your life since your last will was enacted, or if you changed your mind about any decisions made in your most recent Last Will.  Most Last Wills specifically revoke all prior Last Wills.  If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you need a new Last Will.

 

  • Have you lost your Last Will?
  • Have you been married since enacting your most recent Last Will?
  • Have you been divorced since enacting your most recent Last Will?
  • Have you had any children or expecting any children since enacting your most recent Last Will?
  • Have you adopted any children or expecting to adopt any children since enacting your most recent Last Will?
  • Have you acquired real property since enacting your most recent Last Will and the Will does not provide for the distribution of this property?

Can I Create a Trust in My Last Will?

The answer is yes, you can establish a Trust in your Last Will and Testament.  This Trust can be for whatever purpose you want:  to support children, friends or family; for charitable purposes; or for other purposes.  Your Will sets out the terms of this Trust and appoints a Trustee to oversee and administer the Trust.  The Trustee will manage the assets of the Trust and disburse them in accordance with your instructions.  Because there are pros and cons for Trusts, you should consult with an attorney and a tax professioanal if you are thinking about establishing one.

What is the Residue of My Estate?

You can dispose of assets in a couple of different ways in your Last Will and Testament.  One way is to fund a Trust that you create in your Will.  The other is to make specific bequests of specific items to specific people.  Any assets not disposed of by either of these two options and remaining in your estate become part of the "residue" of your estate.  The residue is usually then left to a person, persons, or class of persons or heirs.

 

Living Will Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need a Living Will?

Yes.  Everyone should have a Living Will.  Since no one can be 100% certain that they will never be incapacitated and unable to communicate their desires, everyone should take the precaution of having a Living Will.

 

I Don't Want to Spend my Last Days Alive Hooked Up to Life Support, Living Like a Vegetable. Can I prevent This?

Yes, you can.  That is one of the primary reasons that people enact Living Wills.  As a part of your Living Will, you can express your desire to not remain on life support.  You cannot instruct your physicians to terminate your life, but you can ask that extra ordinary measures to keep you alive not be taken and that you be allowed to pass naturally.  This essentially means that you can instruct your physicians to terminate life support if they deem you to be in a persistent vegetative state with little or no hope of recovery.  This does not exclude the administration of pain medications or other prescriptions to keep you comfortable.  It does mean that you would be disconnected from a ventilator, and that artificial feeding and hydration would cease.

 

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WALLINGFORD COMMUNITY BASED LAW FIRM

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