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Designating your organ/tissue donation wishes in your estate plan

Many people dread the idea of estate planning because it involves, in large part, thinking about a future where you won’t be around. However, it’s not unusual once you begin the process to appreciate the opportunity you have to make sure your wishes are known and carried out.

Among the things you can spell out in your estate plan is whether you want your organs, tissue and other parts of your body to be donated. Even if you have an organ donor donation on your driver’s license, this gives you a chance to be more detailed.

Note that if you include organ/tissue donation wishes in your estate plan, you’ll want to be sure that someone will have access to that information, like perhaps your health care agent, so they can be taken before it’s too late. That’s why the information is typically included in a person’s advance directive for health care.

You don’t have to be young and healthy to have viable organs

People often assume that after a certain age, or if they’ve been very ill, no one would be able to use their organs. That’s not the case at all.

While we typically think of donated organs as being transplanted into other people, they can also be used for medical study. It’s been estimated that donations from one person can aid or save the lives of up to 75 people.

By codifying your wishes about organ and tissue donation in your estate plan and ensuring that the right person(s) can access them when the time comes, you’re saving your family from having to make even more decisions at an already difficult time.

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