The world of estate planning can be confusing to those who have never encountered it before. You might be estate planning for the first time and while you are likely aware that you need a will, you might also wonder if you need a living will. You may not even be sure what the difference is between a will and a living will. The following is a brief overview of these two important estate planning documents.

Wills in Kentucky

A will (or “last will and testament”) in Kentucky is the legal instrument that will pass your assets on to your chosen heirs upon your death. To execute a will, you must be at least age 18 and of sound mind. Wills must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. Kentucky law does not recognize oral wills, although handwritten wills may be okay under certain circumstances.

Living wills in Kentucky

A living will is an entirely different thing from a last will and testament. A living will is the official document in which you outline what medical care you wish to receive if you are unable to express these preferences yourself, for example, if you are in a coma or cannot communicate due to dementia or Alzheimer’s. Your living will can designate a health care surrogate, address life-prolonging treatment, address artificial feeding or hydration and indicate whether you want to be an organ donor. Anyone age 18 or older can execute a living will.

Create a comprehensive estate plan

Both wills and living wills have a place in your overall estate plan. They achieve two different goals, both of which are equally important to your end of life wishes. Having a comprehensive estate plan can help you rest assured that your wishes will be respected if you cannot express them and upon your death.