When you meet with your estate planning attorney, it can be a time for some challenging but important conversations. We talk – and make decisions – about death and taxes, but we often leave you with more to consider as well.
Organ donation is one such area. Most of us don’t think about organ donation in our day-to-day lives. Like estate planning, when we are forced to think about it, it is often too late to have constructive conversations and too late to communicate proactively with our families about our wishes.
Did you know that in this country, twenty two people die each day because the organ they need is not donated in time? Or that one organ donor can save up to eight lives? While our feelings about organ donation are incredibly personal, what is universal is that we should communicate with our families how we feel about it, and seek to understand their wishes as well.
If you want to be an organ donor, you can register with one of the national registries, such as Organize, or Donate Life America, or with your state based registry, which in Massachusetts is the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. However, remember that your listing with a state agency may not be found if the potential organ donation occurs out of state.
It is also important to communicate those wishes to your family members and friends. In person conversations are ideal, and this is a good conversation to have in the greater context of talking about your health care wishes. It is also helpful to create a record of your wishes for friends and family to rely upon. Organize, the national organ donor registry, suggests tweeting “I want to be an #organdonor.” Facebook allows you to reflect your organ donation wishes under your “Life Events” as a “Health and Wellness” entry. While the use of social media for such a personal decision may seem overwhelming for some people, it is a very efficient way to allow for quick access to your information in the event of an accident or unexpected passing, when the timing of the organ donation could be critical. Many people put together an informal letter after talking with their families to remind them of what was discussed. You might want to consider putting together a letter to your family reminding them of your wishes after you talk.
Are you registered as an organ donor? Have you had conversations with your family about it? Have you shared your intent to be an organ donor on social media?
If you have questions about estate planning, probate, trusts, and tax matters, please contact one of Conn Kavanaugh’s experienced estate planning lawyers.
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