Estate planning often involves end-of-life medical planning, not just the division of assets. Some of this process centers around the financial side of things, allowing you to plan to cover the costs of a nursing home or medical bills, while some of it is more focused on making actual medical plans and making your wishes known to your family. 

One way that you can do this is with a DNR order. DNR stands for “Do not resuscitate” and it specifically addresses the fact that you do not want medical professionals to use cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR. If your heart ceases beating or you stop breathing on your own, you don’t want them to try to revive you. 

Other treatments are not impacted by a DNR. You can still get pain medication, for instance, or the other types of treatment for the condition that put you in the hospital to begin with. What doctors cannot do is use medicine, electric shock devices, breathing tubes, chest compressions or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation tactics. 

Why do people use a DNR? This is a very personal decision and everyone has their own desires and opinions. Some believe that when it is their time, it is simply their time. Others worry about complications, such as brain damage from a lack of oxygen even if they start breathing again. Still others do not want to burden their family members with high medical bills. 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Some people use these orders and others do not. The important thing is just to know how it works and all of the legal options that you have when doing your estate planning.