I came upon this post on Reddit.  It’s a good example of why “the internet” is not necessarily a good place to get important financial information.  Full disclosure, I am not a trust attorney, so do not construe my comments as legal advice.

Her question was:

I recently lost my grandmother and it has me thinking about life insurance and living wills, and how my family members are taken care of if I were to have an early expiration.

A little about me—I’m 28, have no kids or spouse, own my home, car, and have a dog. My grandmother purchased me a $25,000 life insurance policy when my grandfather passed years ago, and I have a separate $180,000 life insurance policy through my job. Currently, my work policy lists both my mom and sister as beneficiaries but that is the extent to which I have planned.

I guess my question is if it would be beneficial to set up a living will since I don’t have a spouse or kids, or if the life insurance beneficiary information would basically take care of it? I know my parents had a will put together when they were 20–granted they were married and had a child already. I don’t want to bring it up to them after losing my grandmother and freak them out like I’m sick.

My reply after reading several others, was this:

I find it interesting that none of the comments in this thread point out the fact that a Living Will is a legal document that outlines your preferences in regard to what life-saving measures medical staff and first-responders are allowed to perform on you to save or prolong your life. It also states what end-of-life pain management and comfort measures you want to be administered during the closing phase of your life. A good example is a do not resuscitate (DNR) directive. Most people have heard of those from hospital TV shows. A Living Will is NOT an estate plan, living trust, or last will and testament.
I believe what you are referring to is a last will and testament, commonly called a will. The answer to your question is yes. It’s always helpful to leave a will behind. The life insurance will automatically give the death benefit to the beneficiary, but what about your wishes as to what they should do with some of the money? Maybe you think your sister should go on that vacation she’s always talking about? If you care whether you’re buried or cremated, you can state that. What should they do with your car, your dog, and especially your home? By the way, a will is pretty much a suggestion as to what to do. It doesn’t have much legally binding abilities. For that you would need a Revocable Living Trust. With a trust you can dictate who gets what, but I’m guessing you probably don’t want to spend $2 to $3,000 to have one drawn up. My suggestion would be to sit down with a trust attorney that will give you a free, no obligation consultation and get a qualified, accurate explanation. Then decide what you’d like to do. As a final thought, be aware that many states have different laws regarding the details. As an example, a perfectly good trust made in AZ may not hold up in NY.