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Should Your Estate Plan Include a DNR?

On behalf of Summers Legal, PA

Jan. 28, 2021

Estate planning is often a multi-faceted process that may include creating a living will, deciding what happens to personal property or even providing financial assistance to loved ones. Whether you are writing a comprehensive estate plan or simply addressing a matter or two, you may want to think about executing a do not resuscitate order.

A DNR order is a legally binding document that tells health care professionals you do not want them to use resuscitating equipment or procedures. If you have a DNR order on file, doctors typically will not revive you after you experience cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Is a Living Will Enough?

If you are beginning the estate planning process, you may already have heard of a living will. A living will describes the care you want and do not want to receive. It may also name a person to make medical decisions on your behalf.

A DNR supplements your living will, as it specifically orders doctors not to resuscitate you in certain situations. Consequently, to have peace of mind, you probably want to execute both a living will and a DNR order.

Will Doctors Provide Inadequate Care?

After creating a DNR order, you may fear that doctors may not try to save your life. That is simply not the case, as doctors have a legal and ethical duty to use all available medical procedures to treat you. Your DNR order simply tells doctors about your wishes in specific circumstances.

Ultimately, whether you have created a DNR order or a living will, you can expect health care professionals to provide adequate care while respecting your end-of-life wishes.