They Govern Two Different Time Periods
Video Transcribed: What is the difference between a living will and a last will in Oklahoma? I’m Oklahoma estate planning attorney James Wirth, and we’ve got some questions related to estate planning in Oklahoma. The question that we have today for the purpose of this video is, “What’s the difference between a living will and a last will?” So, essentially, they govern two different things, two different time periods. And when we talk about a living will, more modernly in Oklahoma, we refer to that as an advanced directive for healthcare. And that is talking about while the person is alive, how do they want to be treated for certain things? Generally, we’re talking specifically about medical determinations.
If we’ve got somebody who has lost the capacity to tell the doctors and makes decisions on their own, on how they want to be treated, then it can be beneficial to in advance of that, have an advanced healthcare directive or living will that tells the doctor, one, it can appoint somebody as a healthcare proxy. “This is the person I want making decisions for my healthcare.” It can decide, “I do want to be resuscitated. I don’t want to be resuscitated.
I want to receive certain types of feeding, feeding tube or hydration, artificial feeding and hydration,” or “I don’t want to receive those.” All of these different decisions can be made. They can be put as part of your living will or advanced directive for healthcare. And that advises people how you want to be treated when you are alive, need medical treatment, but are not able to make those decisions.
Absent that being already put in place, then you may need to have a guardian appointed that can make those determinations. So, if you want to make those decisions, the way that you make those decisions is through an advanced directive for healthcare. And then make sure that the people in the know, your family members, friends, they know what that document says, where it is. So should that come to fruition where you’re in that condition it can utilize?
So, different from that, we’re talking about the last will. So, a Last Will and Testament, that is how you want your assets and things handled upon your passing. So, living wills while you’re live for medical issues, last will is for after you pass, related to your assets and how you want them treated. So that is just about who you want receive what. If you have a Last Will and Testament in place, it can be probated in the court and the court can order your property distributed, pursuant to that will.
If you do not have a Last Will and Testate, then that means that, under Oklahoma law, you passed intestate, and your property will be given away pursuant to the Oklahoma statute regarding intestate succession. So, the law lays out how your property is passed.
If you don’t want to go by that default, then you’re going to want to have your own Last Will and Testament. But both of these documents are part of typical estate planning in addition to having potentially trust and a DPOA, or durable power of attorney.
So, if you’ve got questions about either one of those documents or estate planning in general, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about a comprehensive plan based on your specific circumstances. To get that scheduled with an attorney at my office, you go online to makelaweasy.com.