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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Talking to Your Estate Planning Lawyer in Sacramento about Organ, Tissue, and Body Donation

June 2, 2014

Estate planning lawyers in Sacramento help California residents to make all kinds of decisions based on federal, state, and local laws. From what to do with property to who will become a child’s guardian, there is no shortage of topics that should be considered. One of the areas that you will likely want to discuss with your estate planning lawyer is organ and tissue donation.

In the United States alone, there are more than 100,000 individuals waiting for transplant surgeries that can potentially save their lives. It is possible that a gift of your organs or other tissues can make an incredible change for that person and his or her family. While this certainly has the potential to be a wonderful thing, organ donation is not for everyone.

For some people, there are religious rules that preclude the donation of organs. Most major religions, however, have take the view that life is to be revered and that organ donation is a generous act. Still, it is a good idea to consult with your religious leader if you have any questions about the appropriateness of organ donation. Your estate planning lawyer in Sacramento will likely have considerable experience and be able to offer advice.

Organs and Tissues Considered for Donation

As medical science continues to advance, so do the types of tissues that can be successfully transplanted. Some of those commonly transplanted now include:

  • Bone
  • Bone marrow
  • Corneas
  • Hearts
  • Intestines
  • Kidneys
  • Livers
  • Pancreas
  • Ligaments
  • Livers
  • Lungs
  • Tendons

Finding a good match between a donor and a recipient isn’t always easy, but one person who donates many tissues and organs can actually help as many as 50 patients in Sacramento and beyond. Various guidelines have to be followed, but these are typically things that are out of your control, regarding the cause of your death, how quickly surgeons can retrieve the organs, etc.

Ensure Your Wishes are Known

In addition to including your organ donation information in your estate planning documents, make sure that your loved ones are clear about your choices. Tell your family and friends about your decisions, and make sure that they are documented clearly in your advance healthcare directive.

Donating Your Body to Science

Another option when it comes to this type of donation is to leave your body “to science.”  It is not uncommon for medical schools to accept donations of whole bodies—this means with the organs included. Generally speaking, the medical school will take care of arrangements to transport your body and may also pay for it to be buried or cremated at a later time.

If this is of interest to you, make sure you have your Sacramento estate planning attorney contact the school to ensure that they accept such donations. You may also need to make some alternate plans in case the school doesn’t need donations at the time of your death. Again, your estate planning lawyer can help to put together a plan that works for your needs.

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