What is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament? (click here for printable PDF)


These important life planning documents allow individuals to choose the family members and/or friends they trust to manage their affairs and make important decisions on their behalf, giving you and your family greater long-term stability and peace of mind.

Living Will

A legal document that lets you state what type of medical treatment you do or do not wish to receive should you become unable to make these decisions for yourself i.e., you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious and unable to communicate or make decisions.

Unlike a health care proxy, you do not designate an “agent” when executing a living will. This document is used as a directive – to instruct your health care providers (and the agent of your health care proxy) as to your specific wishes for medical care.

Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament is a document which directs how your property, which is not otherwise distributed automatically under the law, is distributed upon death. Most people want or need a will because you want your property to go where you desire, not where the State says, or you want to name a guardian for your children.

If you do not have a will, the laws of your state of residence at the time of death will direct the distribution of your assets. Important people in your life who would not inherit if you die without a will include unmarried life partners, friends, relatives not next in line on the state’s priority list, pets, organizations and institutions, and business partners.

Do you or someone you know need help with estate planning?

For assistance, please call our intake line at (718) 624-3894 or click here to begin an online intake.