If you are in the process of creating a living will as part of your estate plan, you probably have given ample thought about what end-of-life medical care you wish to receive. However, you might not have realized that you also need to think about what after-life medical care you want performed. Specifically, do you want your organs to be donated to others in need?
There is a common misconception among most elders today that they should not allow their organs to be donated simply because they could no longer be useful to anyone. According to research conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), this is just not the case. The only organs that are “unusable” after someone passes away, no matter their age, are typically the ones that were directly related to the person’s death, such as in a heart attack or lung’s damaged by cancer. So long as you pass away of natural causes, the majority of your vital organs are probably perfect for donation and saving someone else’s life.
Other information collected by the DHHS includes:
- More than 60% of people who need an organ transplant are 50+ years old
- 2,300+ deceased donors were 50 to 64 years older (2014)
- 600+ were 65 years or older (2014)
Elders can and do donate their organs after they pass away to the benefit of others. But that does not mean you have to. The decision is yours and yours alone, as it is your body that we are discussing. But knowing that it is an option is the groundwork of making your choice.
For more information about living wills and organ donation clauses, you can contact Samuels Wood PLLC. Our Boca Raton elder law and estate planning lawyer would be happy to answer your questions during an initial consultation and guide you to your solution from there.