Planning for Organ and Tissue Donation

Guidance for Posthumous Organ and Tissue Donations

At Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law LLC, we're committed to helping our clients make compassionate and significant contributions to the world of medicine, even after they’ve passed on. Organ and tissue donation saves lives every day and greatly benefits those in critical need of transplants. Various tissues and organs that are frequently donated and transplanted include:

  • Corneas
  • Hearts
  • Livers
  • Kidneys
  • Bones and bone marrow
  • Tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues
  • Skin
  • Pancreases
  • Lungs

Even individuals who are not suitable for major organ donation can contribute tissues and corneas, which can be used for crucial research endeavors as well as transplant procedures. Despite the thousands on waiting lists for organs such as kidneys, the criteria are strict, and only a fraction of deceased individuals become eligible donors.

To ensure your wishes to donate are honored, we advise securing an organ donor card to carry with you at all times. Many states also offer the option to indicate your donor status on your driver’s license, typically accompanied by a donor card or a designated sticker.

Moreover, it's prudent to include your preference for organ donation in a healthcare document, such as an advance directive or living will. Many states have adapted their official healthcare forms to allow for detailed organ donation instructions, specifying the types of donations—whether for transplantation, therapy, research, or educational purposes.

Due to the urgency required in the donation process after one's passing, pre-planning these decisions is essential. This includes discussing your wishes with your loved ones, particularly your healthcare proxy if an advance directive or power of attorney is in place.

It's crucial to note that without clear, written directives, a family member’s objection could potentially override your donation intentions. Ensure that your decision is properly documented and communicated with family and friends to prevent any complications or misinterpretations of your wishes.

At Wilson & Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law LLC, we are here to provide guidance and legal support throughout the entire process of estate planning and health care directives, including organ and tissue donation arrangements. To discuss your plans or for more information regarding the documentation required to ensure your wishes are carried out, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for a Consultation at (708) 482-7090. Let us help you make a lasting impact that can save lives and contribute to the advancement of medical science.

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