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Commercial Employment Law Estate Planning Family General

The Greatest Gift

30.07.2020

There are approximately 1,600 people in Australia waiting for the greatest gift you could give anyone – the gift of life through the donation of an organ.

No longer is the notation on your Drivers Licence.  In order to be listed an organ donor, you have to register on the online database at DonateLife and complete short questionnaire – it takes five minutes, and you could literally save someone’s life.  And Organ Donation Week is the best time to register!

Your intention to donate organs is in your Will – is that enough?

No.  Whilst your Will is a great place to put your wishes in relation to burial, cremation and organ donation, the time between your death, and the reading of your Will can often be days, if not weeks.  That is simply too late to rely on the wishes contained therein.  Whilst it’s beneficial to have the notation in your Will so that it is written somewhere, registering online and discussing your intentions with your family is the most effective way to ensure your organs are donated upon your death.

Great, you’ve now registered online!  You’re done!

Not quite.  You need to notify your next of kin of your decision to be an organ donor and have a conversation with your family.  Although registration is the clearest message that you can give your family, they need to then consent to the removal of your organs after your passing.  Simply being on the donor register is only part of what’s needed.  Have an open conversation about your intention to donate organs with your family once you’ve registered online.

How do they get the organs out?

Your death will be an extremely emotional time for your loved ones.  Trained medical professionals will guide them through the decisions to harvest your organs, based on your registration on the donor register.  Empathy and care is of the upmost importance in this situation.  The organ harvesting procedures are completed by medical professionals with strict codes of ethics.  The surgery to remove your organs is often completed so that there are minimal scars to the body, allowing viewings of your body at your funeral.

What are your organs going to be used for?

Some people are concerned that their bodies are going to be used for medical research or teaching aids for medical students.  This isn’t the case.  There are strict rules and protocols for the donation of tissue – from one body to another – and without specific consent to for your body to be used for medical education and research, it can’t be.

You’ve registered to donate, and now are thinking about you Estate?

That’s great – often the discussion of organ donation will prompt people to think about updating their estate plan, or in some cases, making their first one.  A professionally drafted Will can have huge benefits for the administration of your Estate upon your death.

If you want to talk about organ donation, or preparing a new or updated estate plan, contact our Wills and Estates Team today.

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