Donald M. Thompson - Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning


Organ and Tissue Donation

If you wish to give parts of your body to others after your death, you will is not a good place to do it. Your will won't ordinarily be procured and read until well after organ transplants must be made.

However, gifts of organs can be made by will and the gift is effective whether or not the will is admitted to probate and even if the will is later successfully challenged, to the extent the gift was actually carried out.

Organ gifts can be made as part of the issuance of drivers licenses. They can also be made by separate document executed before 2 witnesses like a will.

The agent under a power of attorney for health care can also be authorized to make the gift.

The gift of organs can be made to specific donees or to specific types of donees. The doctors who will make the transplant can be specified. No donee need be specified.

If a gift has been made the donor should carry with the donor some evidence of the gift and who to contact so whoever has custody of the body will be aware of the gift.

If no gift of organs has been made by a decedent certain designated persons can make a donation of the decedent's organs provided the decedent has not indicated that no gifts are to be made and provided also that no one with an equal or prior right to make the gift objects. The persons who can make the gifts and their priority of right is set forth in the statute. An agent under a power of attorney which directs organ donations comes first followed by the surviving spouse, then children, then parents, then brothers and sisters, then grandchildren and so on.

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Donald M. Thompson * 55 W. Monroe #3950; Chicago, IL 60603
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