Wills and Living Wills
Will (Last Will and Testament): A will speaks only at the time of death. This means that as long as one meets the basic tests for testamentary capacity and complies with legal requirements, a person can change, re-write or even destroy her will throughout her life. A will specifies how you want your assets divided and the person(s) whom you want to administer your estate. It also addresses tax planning issues and plans for minor children (i.e., specifying guardians and trustees) or incapacitated beneficiaries. A carefully drafted will minimizes the potential for problems in estate administration.
Advance Medical Directive (Living Will): An Advance Medical Directive allows you to appoint a trusted family member or other person to assist you with health care decision making if necessary (whether disability is temporary – like unconsciousness – or permanent). In Virginia, Advance Medical Directives can also contain Living Will provisions, which specify your wishes concerning end of life care in the event you are not able to communicate these wishes later. This gives you control and can help relieve some of the burden of decision making from your family during difficult times. If you prefer, a Living Will can be a completely separate document.