Articles Posted in Organ Donation

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plane-50893_150Inevitably, in the summer months, I get phone calls from people who are about to take a trip somewhere, often within just a few days. Sometimes they have a Will or a trust that’s out of date; sometimes they have no estate planning documents at all; sometimes they have just finished getting divorced and are in a panic because they haven’t gotten around to updating their Will or trust.

Much as I try to help everyone who calls, sometimes (often) there’s just not enough time to update their documents before that plane takes off or the road trip starts. What to do?

Although none of the documents I’m about to suggest take the place of a well-drafted Will or trust, they can serve to get something in place before a trip, quickly and with minimal or no expense. Upon your return, you can come in and get the job done right — but at least you can take to the skies with some peace of mind.

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lungs.jpgVirtually every estate plan we do for clients includes an Advance Health Care Directive, which is a legal document that allows you to name agents who can act on your behalf with respect to medical decisions if you are unable to communicate your wishes directly. One of the other questions on that form is whether or not you want to be an organ donor.

I’ve found that, of all the things we discuss during an estate planning meeting, that question tends to evoke a strong response–often negative. And that’s too bad. In California alone, there are more than 19,000 peple currently waiting for organ transplants, and more than 92,000 people waiting nationally, according to Donate for Life, the California Donor Registry. According to the California Transplant Donor Network, of those waiting for a transplant, one in three will die due to a shortage of organs.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t be free to make that choice, but I thought I’d take some time here to respond to some of the most common concerns that are raised by people who have a negative response.