Estate planning usually includes the preparation of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills. The estate planning meeting should also include a discussion about the possibility of organ and tissue donation. It's an attorney's job to get his clients to think about issues they may not otherwise address, whether the issue is who will be guardian of a minor or special needs child, who will inherit particular property, what charitable gifts the client wants to make, who will handle the client's affairs if the client becomes incapacitated, what medical care the client wants if he or she is terminally ill or in a coma, or what will be done with the client's organs and tissues after the client has died. The lawyer can, by conversations with clients and their families, provide input about all of these important areas.
However, organ and tissue donation is rarely raised. It is important that the attorney and client discuss these things. Many people die each year or go through painful and expensive medical procedures while waiting for organ donations. If more lawyers raised these issues with their clients, more people might become organ and tissue donors. By raising the issue of organ and tissue donation with clients during the estate planning process and helping clients understand their rights regarding provisions for such donations, attorneys can have a large impact on society by helping clients' effectuate their wishes to donate, and helping those in need of organs and tissue.
If you have questions about how you can include your wishes regarding organ donation as part of your estate plan, give us a call at 253.858.5434 to see how we can help.