Organ donation and estate planning

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2022 | Estate Planning

As you delve into the estate planning process, one of the things you can consider is whether you want to be an organ donor. Even if you designated on your driver’s license that you wish to donate your organs upon your death, you can be more specific if you choose to be in your estate plan.

It’s important to remember, however, that you need to make your wishes known in places other than that and preferably to loved ones as well. While thinking about these things is never pleasant, by donating organs, tissue and other parts of your body for transplant or medical study, you can save multiple lives. One person’s donations can help or save as many as 75 different people. That knowledge can help your loved ones find peace after your death.

Misconceptions about organ donation

There are still a lot of myths about organ donation that prevent some people from doing it. For example, some people think their religion forbids it. In fact, most major religions have no prohibitions against organ donation. That includes Roman Catholicism, Judaism and Islam. If you’re uncertain, though, talk to a member of the clergy.

People often think that if they die when they’re very old and/or sick, their organs are of no use to anyone. In fact, that may not be the case at all. By designating yourself as an organ donor, doctors can determine what organs or other parts of your body (unless you’ve listed restrictions) are suitable for use. 

Designating your wishes

Besides having your organ donor status listed on your driver’s license or state ID card, you can also register with Minnesota’s donor registry. You should also include your wishes on your health care directive and inform your designated health care agent so that they can let your medical team know. 

Without these designations, your family will be asked to make the decision. If you haven’t talked to them about it, they may not know what you want. Even if they do know that was your preference, if they have their own beliefs or misconceptions around organ donation, they may not allow it. By taking the steps outlined here, you’re helping ensure that your wishes will be respected even when you can no longer voice them.