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Learning about the Differences between a Living Trust, a Last Will and a Living Will

These legal documents are commonly confused because of their similar-sounding names. While all three are vital estate planning tools, each one serves a distinct purpose. Here are some of their key differences.
A Last Will is used to distribute property to beneficiaries, specify last wishes, and name guardians for minor children. It is an important part of any estate plan. Without one, the courts will make these critical decisions for you.
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A Living Trust is used to transfer property to beneficiaries. But unlike a last will, a living trust is not usually subject to probate court, which can take years and cost thousands in attorneys' and court fees. A LegalZoom Living Trust includes a free Last Will and Testament to name guardians for minor children and specify last wishes.
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A Living Will lets you outline important healthcare decisions in advance, such as whether or not to remain on artificial life support. A LegalZoom Living Will includes a complimentary Health Care Power of Attorney that allows you to appoint someone you trust to make critical health care decisions for you if you cannot.
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Last Will
  • Distribute property to beneficiaries
  • Name a guardian for minor children
  • Specify funeral, burial, and other last wishes
Living Trust
  • Help avoid the cost and delays of probate
  • Keep the details of your estate private
  • May reduce certain estate taxes
  • Includes free Last Will
Living Will
  • Make decisions about life support in advance
  • Specify organ donation
  • Includes free Healthcare Power of Attorney
See our detailed Comparison Chart