Organ Donations – Should it be in your Will?

TRIt is not uncommon for a client to want to record their wish to become an organ donor in their Will. Is this the best way to notify family and doctors that you wish to donate your organs?

Unfortunately, by the time family members have turned their minds to firstly finding and then reading the deceased’s Will, their organs are unlikely to be of any use.

There are only very limited circumstances in which human organs can be ‘harvested’, and an extremely limited time window of opportunity to do so.

Only people who have suffered brain death, that is, their brain has died whilst the rest of their body has continued to function usually on a ventilator, are capable of donating organs.

If you wish to give the “gift of life” upon your death, the first step is to register your wishes by signing up to the Australian Government’s new Organ Donor Registry. Visit The registration process is easy.

You should also discuss your wishes with your loved ones, because doctors will rarely use a person’s organs if the grieving family members do not agree to it. According to statistics, less than 60% of grieving families give consent for organ donation to proceed. 43% of people say that they weren’t sure what the deceased person wanted.

According to the website there are about 1600 people on organ donor waiting lists in Australia, and they will spend on average between 6 months and 4 years waiting for the right organ donors to come along.

Previously the process for recording your intention to be an organ donor was different in every state. The new register is Australia wide and provides a one stop shop where people can easily and quickly confirm their intentions.

Doctors in emergency rooms across Australia have 24 hour access to the register so that they can begin the search for potential organ recipients from the earliest possible moment.

If you have previously registered on another register, it is important that you register on the National Organ Register so that your information can be linked to your Medicare number.

So the answer to the above question, is that organ donation is best recorded on the National Donor Register, rather than in your Will.

If you need any assistance in a legal matter, contact Everingham Solomons because Helping You is Our Business.

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