I am often asked by clients who want to donate their organs, if they should include this wish in their Will. Due to the fact that a Will is not read until after a person’s death, there are better options for people to record their wishes to donate their organs.

Firstly, the Australian Organ Donor Register is Australia’s only national register that enables people to record their decision about becoming an organ donor after their death. Registration is easy, voluntary and allows a person to choose which organs and tissues they are willing to donate. There are a number of ways to register including, but not limited to, the following:

Register through your existing online myGov account;

Register using an Online form through https://donatelife.gov.au website;

Download a registration form from the Department of Human Services website at www.humanservices.gov.au; or

Visit a local Department of Human Services Centre and pick up a Donor Register brochure and registration form.

If you register, doctors around Australia can see you are a donor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Transplants need to be fast, so this is vital”. “Around 1,400 Australians are currently waitlisted for a life-saving organ transplant. In 2018, 554 deceased and 238 living organ donors and their families gave 1,782 Australians a new chance at life. The majority of Australians (69%) are willing to become an organ and tissue donor but only 1 in 3 Australians have joined the Australian Organ Donor Register”.

Secondly, people can record their wish for organ donation in their Appointment of Enduring Guardian. This is not a substitute for registering as an organ donor. An Appointment of Enduring Guardian is a legal document that gives a person the power to say who they want to have authority to make medical and lifestyle decisions for them if through accident, illness or misadventure a person loses the ability to make decisions for themselves.

Finally, it is important that you discuss your wishes with your family as they will have the final say. When you die, family are more likely to follow your wishes if they already know about them. If over time your views or goals change, it is important that you let your family, friends and enduring guardian(s) know.

If you need assistance in any estate planning matter, please contact Everingham Solomons, because Helping You is Our Business.

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