It is a scene that we see played out in EVERY medical drama on TV these days. The doctor steps in the waiting room to speak to the anxious family and says, “He needs a XXXX transplant,” (insert your organ of choice here).
What you never see is a family respond with, “Ah, no thanks. He isn’t an organ donor. It’s not fair that he gets one when he isn’t willing to give, so just let him die.” However, doesn’t that seem like a fair response for someone that isn’t willing to donate their own organs?
Here’s another scenario that the medical dramas rarely depict, but it happens every day in America. The doctor steps into the waiting
room to speak to the anxious family and says, “I’m sorry. We did everything we could. Do you know his wishes on organ donation?”
We Never Discussed It
Spouses, parents, and children are left to wonder what he would have wanted them to do because the deceased never said that they had a preference one way or the other.
—See Who May Make Anatomical Gift of Decedent’s Body or Part—Tex. Health & Safety Code §692A.009
By now, you’re probably wondering, “Why is this lawyer babbling on and on about organ donation? What does this have to do with the law?”
Simply put, to ensure that your wishes on organ donation are known, you need to have it documented. Your attorney can advise you on the most effective documents to preserve your preference and help you to draft and execute them so you don’t have to leave your loved ones guessing when the time comes.
—See Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act—Tex. Health & Safety Code Ch. 692A
Your Will Doesn’t Count
You might be considering a simple Will to distribute property and want to establish your organ donation preferences at the same time. However, you shouldn’t only have your organ donation preference in the Will because it usually isn’t read during times of emergencies for medical instructions.
—See Manner of Making Anatomical Gift Before Donor’s Death—Tex. Health & Safety Code §692A.005
Devise a Plan While You Still Can
You might already have a Will and all you need is help with your organ donation documents. You might even be considering a full-blown Estate Plan that you want to incorporate your organ donation preference into. Whatever your wishes are, there is no time like the present.
Don’t delay making your decision because very few people get to make this decision at the time the choice has to be made. Contact your Estate Planning Attorney to discuss your options for Organ Donation.
***Special Thanks to John Reddin of Lubbock, Texas for helping choose today’s topic, and to everyone else that participated in this week’s Reader’s Choice Poll on Facebook and Twitter.***
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Estate Management Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479