Building An Estate Plan That Is Right For You

How to address organ donation in your estate plan

As you begin the estate planning process, you’ll start thinking about a lot of things that you want (and don’t want) after you’re gone. For example, do you want to have your organs and tissues used for transplant, research and education?

People have traditionally designated that they want to be an organ donor on their driver’s license or even signed up on the state’s donor registry. However, one of the advantages of having an advance health care directive is that you can use it to give specific authorization for what parts of your body you want to donate and for what purposes.

Learn the truth about organ donation

There are a lot of outdated and just plain false beliefs around organ donation that keep some people from doing it. That’s a shame, because it’s estimated that one person’s donations can improve and often save or improve the lives of up to 75 people.

For example, a common false belief is that if a person is old and/or very ill, their organs won’t be of any value to someone else. That’s often not the case. By agreeing to donate organs and tissue, doctors can determine what specifically can be of use. Further, you can also designate that your body be used for educational and research purposes.

One more unfortunate false belief is that doctors are more likely to take someone off life support if they’re an organ donor. That’s not the case. Further, by having an advance directive and a designated health care agent, you make your wishes regarding when to continue or end life-sustaining measures known and authorize someone to communicate with your medical team.

If you have other questions or concerns about putting an advance health care directive in place and want to help ensure that yours is valid and reflects your wishes, having experienced estate planning guidance is going to be wise.