In the United States, all states have enacted some version of the Uniform Anatomical Gifts Act which governs the process of organ donation for the purpose of transplantation. Any adult may choose to become an organ donor. You make this choice by either registering with the MVA or indicating your intentions in your estate planning documents. Most living wills include a provision stating the signor’s preference toward organ donation.
You can also register as a donor at any Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration branch when you obtain a new driver's license or state identification card or when you renew your license or ID. Either approach to stating your intentions is considered an advance directive that alerts health care providers whether you wish to allow the facility to recover upon your death any usable organs, tissues or eyes. Over 3.5 million Maryland residents are registered organ donors.
For information on how organ donation works, you can read this step-by-step process or watch the video. While it is great to register through the MVA, some clients have more specific desires and intentions surrounding the issue of organ donation. If you draft a living will, you can address those more specific concerns. You can designate certain body parts while preventing the donation of other body parts. You can also provide more specific instructions for how each part should be used such as transplantation, research or the advancement of medical science.
At Stouffer Legal we provide in depth consultations on the effects of including organ donation preferences in your living will or advance directives. Contact us at 443-470-3599 to set up a consultation as part of your comprehensive estate plan.