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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Yours, Mine and Ours

Lesley McDonnellPurchasing property can be both an exciting and daunting experience. Exciting because on the one hand you have found the property you have been searching for and you start dreaming of what you will do to transform the house into your home. In what can seem like the daunting side to your property purchase is the point at which you first lay eyes on the contract for sale of land. The contract requires you to make some important decisions. When you purchase property with your spouse or partner, you must decide how you will buy the property together. You can purchase either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. The distinction between the two is an important one because it can have an impact on future life events for example a relationship breakdown or death.

If you purchase property as joint tenants, this means that upon your death, your interest in the property automatically passes to your spouse/partner. This is despite any provision in your will to the contrary. This is because your interest in the property does not form part of your estate and it is not available for distribution to the beneficiaries of your will. Many married couples own property as joint tenants. Also a joint tenancy may exist where property is held in trust.

By contrast,  if you purchase as tenants in common, then your individual share in the property can be gifted in your will. Furthermore the respective shares in the property may be held equally (e.g. 50/50) or in some other proportion (e.g. 60/40, 75/25 or 80/20 etc). Sometimes couples may choose to own property as tenants in common if for example there are children from a previous marriage for whom they wish to make provision upon their death. Also investors often buy property together as tenants in common.

If property is owned as joint tenants there is a process by which that property holding can be unilaterally severed by one party. The other party is given notice of this before it occurs. There are circumstances where this can be an appropriate course of action.

Being aware of your options can assist you in making a more informed choice when it comes to buying your next property. At Everingham Solomons we have the experience to assist you with all your property needs because Helping You is Our Business.

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