Is a living will the same as a living trust?

QUESTION: Is a living will the same as a living trust?


Is a living will the same thing as a living trust?  We're often asked that question and the answer is no, a living will is a medical decision making document.  It is the old document that we used in Mississippi in prior years to state that if I was terminally ill I don't want to heroic life support.

The living trust is a will substitute, an estate planning document where I set up a trust now, put my assets into that trust and then manage them until my death and name who would take over the trust at my death.

Now the living will was an important document, but it's been replaced now with the advanced healthcare directive in Mississippi.  That's the state-of-the-art document that contains more information and guidance than the old living will.

For instance, the advanced health care directive contains a power of attorney section where I name the person who would be responsible for making medical treatment decisions for me if I can't do that for myself.  It also contains some decisions that I can choose to make, one is about the kind of end-of-life care that I want or don't want, and also whether I would want organ donation.  So all those things are part of the advanced health care directive that has replaced the living will.