April is National Donate a Life Month, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While you are spring cleaning your home or office, it's a good time to reconsider plans for the future. When is the last time you gave your estate planning a good spring cleaning, and did you consider how organ donation might play a role in that planning?
We understand: There are many decisions to be made when you are planning an estate. It's easy to overlook issues, even if those issues are close to your heart. If organ donation is important to you, then you should ensure that this wish is appropriately documented in your estate plans.
The first step in ensuring your organs can be donated to save another person's life is to sign up within your state on an organ donor registry. You should also make sure the organ donor status is correct on your driver's license. In the even of a fatal emergency, your driver's license is often what tells medical workers that you wish to be an organ donor.
Not everyone feels the same way about donating organs, and the sudden news that your body will be treated in this way can be shocking to family or friends who are not prepared for it. Avoid shocking your loved ones further at a time when they are already shocked and grieving by talking about organ donation with them and letting them know what your plans are.
Finally, cement your plans in your estate planning documents, including your living will or advance directive. This ensures your wishes are known whether you had time to convey them or not. It also reduces the chance of a relative who disagrees with your wishes from interfering in the last hour.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "National Events," accessed April 08, 2016