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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Learning More about Wills and Trusts Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Will vs. Living Will

Most people probably get that “will” and “living will” are two different things, but a whole lot of them couldn’t actually tell you what exactly makes them different.  The term “will” is likely most familiar, as we’ve all seen them discussed on TV and in the movies.  It’s that document that is used to tell the courts what should be done with a person’s assets after he or she dies.  

In the movies, there’s usually a dramatic reading of the will with close-ups of shocked widows and angry siblings who have been unceremoniously cut out of the family fortune.  While wills and trusts lawyers in Pennsylvania do see their share of hurt feelings and miscommunications, things are rarely as dramatic as they are on the big (or small) screen.

While a will is used after death, a living will is not.  It’s actually a document that includes a variety of instructions to be followed if you are alive but unable to speak for yourself for some reason.  This is usually referred to as being “incapacitated.”  You could be too ill to communicate, in a coma due to an accident, or some other variant that renders you unable to let doctors and others know what your wishes are regarding healthcare and other major decisions.

Trust vs. Living Trust

You may see a bit of a pattern here.  A trust is generally used as a way to disperse assets after the owner has passed away.  A trustee is put in charge of following very specific instructions that have been put in place to direct how the money and other assets in the trust are to be used. 

A living trust, on the other hand, is used to protect many different kinds of assets during the owner’s lifetime.  A Pennsylvania wills and trusts lawyer may recommend a living trust for many different reasons.  For example, this kind of trust can be used to allow the individual to stay in his or her home while transferring ownership.

Each of these types of wills and trusts is something that should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney in the state where you reside, as laws will differ throughout the country.


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HighPoint Law Offices assists clients with Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and IRA Preservation in Chalfont, Pennsylvania and surrounding areas including Bucks, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton Counties.



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