The Difference Between a Living Will and a DNR

 In Estate Planning

To ensure that your end-of-life wishes are carried out in a manner that comports with your wishes, it is important to understand the difference between a Living Will and a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order).


A DNR is a medical document that must be signed by both you and your physician in order to be considered valid and in effect. This document asserts that you do not want to be resuscitated if you die, and one can be obtained at your physician’s office. Additionally, a DNR tells the medical staff that is responsible for treating you, should your heart or lungs give out, not to perform CPR or implement a breathing tube. The original copy of this document must be visible to the EMTs to stop them from trying to resuscitate you. Most individuals that choose to have DNRs are those suffering from long-term illnesses or that are very old and want to maintain their dignity in death.


A Living Will is a legal document that details an individual’s end of life desires in regard to their medical treatment if they become incapacitated or unable to express informed consent. A Living Will is implemented so that you are still able to make important health care decisions, such as whether you want to be kept alive via life support, in the event that you are unable to communicate those wishes yourself.


A Living Will and a DNR serve different purposes and can ensure that your wishes are expressed in the most clear and concise manner possible. For help regarding these matters, contact our office at 941- 906-1231 to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.

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