It is a fairly common request from clients for their Wills to include a statement in regards to their organs being donated for transplant purposes after their death. Such can be included in the Will using the following wording:
‘If practicable I request that my body or any part of it may be used for therapeutic purposes.’
Please note that this wording only allows for organs to be donated for transplant purposes, and does not extend to donation for medical research. This wording could also be limited to exclude certain organs, for example eyes.
Requesting that organs are donated for medical research is less common but can be included in the Will with the following wording:
‘If practicable I request that my body or any part of it may be used for the purposes of medical education and research.’
Alternatively, clients may wish that their body be used for both transplant and medical purposes:
‘If practicable I request that my body or any part of it may be used for therapeutic purposes or for the purposes of medical education and research.’
Clients should be made aware however that all of the above are only requests and, like all other funeral wishes, are in no way legally binding. Wills, and therefore requests regarding donation, are often not discovered until long after a body has been buried or cremated.
Clients should be advised that if they wish for organs to be donated for transplant purposes, they should join the Donor Register (if they haven’t already) to make this wish binding, along with informing all close family and friends that this is their wish. Should you wish to direct your clients to the Donor Register, a link to register is provided below.
Similar applies to donation for medical research. This area is regulated by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), who state that those wishing to donate organs for such purposes should contact a licensed medical school to make these arrangements. Should you wish to provide clients with more information on medical donation, links are provided below to the HTA’s website along with their list of licensed medical schools,
If clients have already made arrangements for medical donation, any written agreements could be specifically mentioned in the Will should the clients wish.
Where a client wishes for both transplant and medical donations, depending on what the clients wish to donate for research purposes, it may be the case that the medical school cannot accept a body that has already donated organs. They should discuss this when making arrangements for medical research to ensure there are no conflicts.