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September 17, 2019

 

Estate planning is more than determining how your assets will be distributed and tax planning. Estate planning also involves having conversations with your loved ones regarding your wishes and desires. This includes knowing options and having conversations about your final resting place and what happens to your remains when you pass away.

 

This two-part blog series will discuss organ donation and the disposition of remains in Washington.  Washington recently passes two laws regarding the options for disposition of remains, which will become effective May 1, 2020.

 

Organ donation

 

Many clients have strong preferences regarding organ donation.  An anatomical gift authorizes the family to make a gift if that option is available.  This authorization is not mandatory. The hospital can let a family know if this is an option. In the event someone wants to make an anatomical gift mandatory (not merely authorize this) the individual would likely want to pre-plan and legally document their desires.

 

Legal Requirements of Making an anatomical gift

 

There are several ways to make anatomical gifts. Arguably, the most common is selecting to be an organ donor on a driver’s license. Other options are:

  1. By writing and making your desire to make an anatomical gift in your Will;

  2. Orally during a terminal illness.  This must be witnessed by two adults, one of whom is disinterested (i.e. not a spouse, child, etc.).

  3. In a separate writing, other than your Will, witnessed by two adults, one of whom is disinterested.

What happens if there is no authorization to make an anatomical gift?

 

Absent one of the legal requirements above or absent any prohibition on making anatomical gifts, if the individual has not authorized or refused to make a gift then the following priority of authority applies to who determines whether a gift would be made:

  1. Agent (this is someone likely acting under a Health Care Power of Attorney);

  2. Spouse;

  3. Adult Children;

  4. Parent;

  5. Adult Siblings;

  6. Adult grandchildren.

What happens if there is no authorization to make an anatomical gift?

 

Absent one of the legal requirements above or absent any prohibition on making anatomical gifts, if the individual has not authorized or refused to make a gift then the following priority of authority applies to who determines whether a gift would be made:

  1. Agent (this is someone likely acting under a Health Care Power of Attorney);

  2. Spouse;

  3. Adult Children;

  4. Parent;

  5. Adult Siblings;

  6. Adult Grandchildren 

If you have questions regarding your estate planning, I would be happy to connect with you. Feel free to email or call 425-885-6066. 

 

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice from Leos & Gilkerson, PLLC or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a licensed lawyer.

 

 

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