Whether one resides in Florida or elsewhere, there are numerous legal documents one might consider for end-of-life planning. There are so many, in fact, that some individuals may not understand why they might be important. Living wills are a good example. What is the deal with living wills? Why would anyone want to have one?
Living wills and DNRs (do not resuscitate orders) are often considered the same thing, but this is far from the truth. It is not uncommon for a person to sign a DNR when he or she does not wish to have any extraordinary measures taken to prolong his or her life. These requests are made all the time and simply placed in patients' files. If it is there, hospital staff are required to comply.
A living will is actually very different from a DNR. A living will is a legal document that gives very specific instructions about one's end-of-life care. This may include a DNR, or it can give further detail about what life-saving measures one deems acceptable. Having a document that gives more specifics about what one wants can help family members and medical providers take appropriate actions when necessary.
There is nothing wrong with signing a DNR if preventing life-saving efforts is all that is wanted. However, those who have other end-of-life plans in mind would benefit from making living wills. An experienced estate planning attorney can assist Florida residents in completing these documents which, in doing so, will ensure that their final wishes are fully noted.
Source: nwtimes.com, "Living wills vs. DNRs", Christopher Yugo, Feb. 28, 2016