Post-Mortem Organ Donations

When drafting Wills, we regularly discuss whether a person is an organ donor and what they would like done to their body once they are deceased.

This article will highlight the general process for both organ donation and donating bodies to science.

Organ Donation

In Australia, nominating to be an organ donor is a relatively easy process, which you can either do through your MyGov account, Express Plus Medicare app or complete and post a printed form accessible from the Services Australia website.

Although at one point in time you could register to be a donor through your driver’s licence, unless you live in South Australia, you will now need to join the Australian Organ Donor Register in order to be a registered organ donor.

If you think you are registered, you can confirm this via the Donate Life website.

However, registering does not guarantee that your organs will be donated once you are deceased. After registering or confirming that you are registered, it is vital to discuss your choice with family as your family will always be asked to consent to the donation on your behalf.

In discussing your choice with family, it can often make their decision to consent to donation easier, knowing your wishes.

You can also choose to donate certain organs, which can be selected when registering or changed through the Donor Register.

Body Donation

It is a common misconception that opting to donate your body to science is as easy as nominating this in your Will.

The reality is that if you wish to donate your body to science, there are many steps that are required to be taken whilst a person is still alive and thorough research to be completed by that person.

There are numerous universities across Australia who will accept body donation of which a person could register with before they are deceased. It is important to note that a family cannot donate a body on behalf of a deceased person, and that the person will need to complete and sign the forms whilst they are still alive.

As with organ donation, it is important to discuss your wishes with your family before your death to ensure they are aware of your wishes and also to ensure your family have the information of who to contact at the time of your death for your body donation. There are certain conditions in which a university could reject your body post-mortem which include notifying them of your death too late.

If you need assistance drafting or updating your estate documents, please contact our firm to make an appointment with one of our estate planning lawyers on (02) 4944 3322.

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