As a part of your estate plan, you should establish your health care wishes if there comes a time when you can’t speak on your own behalf due to a serious illness or injury. Many people establish a health care proxy and give at least one person some power to make decisions on their behalf. However, if you want another layer of protection, then you can include a “Do Not Resuscitate” order in your estate plan.
What does a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order do?
This order, better known as a DNR, is a single, legally binding form that establishes that you do not want to be revived. Usually, this only applies in cases where your heart has stopped. For example, if you are in your 90s and go in to cardiac arrest, your DNR could prevent the medical team from performing life-saving procedures. If you want someone to intervene to save your life, then this order should not be included in your estate plan.
In some cases, a Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form may be better for you. This form reviews a number of situations and your preferences, such as how you feel about being intubated, being placed on dialysis or using ventilation to prolong your life. Usually, these are medical treatments used at the end of life.
Most people only need to establish a health care proxy in their estate plan. Situations vary, though. You have the right to detail what measures you do and do not want taken. Your estate planning attorney can discuss your options with you.