When it comes to planning your estate, an important issue that needs to be addressed is what you want done with your body when you pass away. Do you want to be embalmed and buried? Do you want to be cremated? Relatedly, you need to answer this important question – do you want to donate your organs?
You are not required to donate your organs and, at the end of the day, it is your decision. Nevertheless, it is important to understand the potential impact you can have on other people’s lives if you decide to become an organ donor. For example, more than 120,000 people within the U.S. are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, according to Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, many people waiting for a transplant never receive the organ they need and die as a result. This is where you can enhance your legacy by allowing your organs to be used to help save others.
A prime example of the power of organ donation was highlighted by a 21-year-old suicide attempt survivor. She received a second chance at life after receiving a historic face transplant. Yes, you read that correctly – a face transplant. The family of a 31-year-old who recently passed away and agreed to donate her organs was approached by doctors to see if they would consent to donating their loved one’s face to the 21-year-old suicide attempt survivor, according to ABC 7 News. They agreed and the landmark procedure took place. Now, the 21-year-old has a new lease on life.
Making a Difference
As you can see, one of the major benefits to being an organ donor is knowing that you will be able to make a difference and save the lives of others, even when you pass on. Think about this key fact – a single organ donor has the potential to save as many as eight lives. If you decide to go beyond organ donation to donate your entire body, even parts that may not be used directly in patients may be used for medical research, allowing you to help society in general.
Not only will organ donation provide value to you, the donor. It can also offer benefits to your family. It’s difficult to lose a loved one, and their passing can seem to have little meaning. However, many families find it comforting that, through their loved one’s death, another life can get extended.
Donating an organ has a powerful impact and can leave a wonderful legacy behind. Many of the organ donor and transplant recipient stories are extremely moving, and it can be comforting to know that the choice to donate by a loved one who passed away can change the lives of real people.
If you decide to donate your organs and/or tissues, you should (i) make sure you are registered to be an organ donor, which can be accomplished at the DMV or through the Department of Health and Human Services; (ii) discuss your election with your family members and/or estate trustee; and (3) incorporate your election into your estate plan. To learn more, contact InSight Law today.