When they die, Americans are increasingly choosing to give the ultimate gift to someone who is suffering from a serious illness or injury. In fact, according to the Human Resources and Services Administration, there are currently approximately 169 million registered organ donors in the country.
When it comes to organ donation, timing is critical. Therefore, it is wise to carry your organ donation card with you everywhere you go. Is that enough, though?
Your estate plan
To boost your chances of having your organs and tissues go to a person who needs them, you should explain your intentions to your close friends and family members. You should also use your estate plan to spell out your wishes. The following documents may be particularly helpful:
- A will
- A living will
- An advance health care directive
Just as you may not care about what happens to pieces of your body after your death, you may have some very strong ideas about how you want doctors to use your organs. If so, you should include these ideas in your living will or advance health care directive.
For example, you may want to designate that your organs only go to a living person who needs them instead of going to science or research. You also may want to expressly state which organs you are happy to donate and which ones you would prefer to go with you to the grave.
Ultimately, even though your organ donor card provides doctors and emergency responders with some insights into your end-of-life wishes, having a comprehensive estate plan ensures everyone respects what you want.