Donating Your Organs

Family Disputes About Donating Organs.

Donating organs and tissues is popular because of the great demand.  Medical technology has made transplanting organs and tissue safer, easier, and less expensive.  Common transplants include:

  • SKIN

Tissues, like corneas can be taken from almost anyone.  Some donated organs are used only for research. Sometimes in donating major organs such as hearts, livers, or kidneys, it is difficult to find a matching recipient. For example, while there are tens of thousands of people now on waiting lists to receive a donated liver, but only about 1% of all people who die are suitable donors.

If you wish to donate your organs, it is important you have the correct authorizing documents in place.

First, to properly authorize organ donation, you should obtain a donor card and carry it with you at all times. In California, you can use your driver’s license for this purpose because the DMV will send you a sticker to place on the front of your license.

In addition, using an advanced health care directive or living will you can state your wishes regarding organ donation.  This will allow you to specify not only the organs, tissues, or body parts that you want to donate but also the limited purposes for which your donation may be used.  For example, you may specify: transplant, therapy, research, or education.

Donations generally must be carried out immediately after death, so if you want to be a donor, you should make arrangements in advance and discuss your plans and wishes with those closest to you.   You should assign and authorize a health care agent in your trust or living will.  We can help you with this process.

Family members could object to your will to donate your organs.  Even if you have already expressed a desire to donate your organs, it might not be enough to overcome a legal challenge after you die.  An objection from close family members could defeat your intentions. The best safeguard is to have an attorney put your wishes in writing.