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Making An Organ Donor Pledge

Today Your Legal Corner will provide information on making an organ donor pledge.

Last week, I had the humbling personal experience of learning just how much I relied on my computer to complete daily tasks, as it went dark when I decided to wipe the smudged screen. Likewise, it is not completely clear, just how much we also depend on each other for even our most basic needs. As Valentine’s Day approaches, this may be the perfect time to convey appreciation toward others.

There are many ways to convey appreciation. What one feels inside their heart cannot be seen, rather what can be seen are "proofs of love" as described by author Gretchen Rubin in her wonderful book, The Happiness Project.

Creating an organ donor pledge is one way to demonstrate "proofs of love."

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act- organ donor facts

In New Jersey, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act guides organ donations. Specifically, the Act states that a consenting individual of sound mind, who is at least 18 years of age, may donate his or her organs and tissues upon death for the purpose of transplantation or medical research.

The gifts may legally be made to any appropriate hospital, doctor, medical school, university, or storage facility for education, research, therapy or transplantation. A will, driver’s license, recording or representative may accomplish an organ donation.

Will

An organ donation can be made through a will. The clause in the will may be detailed or general when addressing donorship. A detailed organ donation will state who should receive the organ or organs while a general donation will not name a specific person or organization, only the intent to give.

When an organ donation is contained within a will, two witnesses will sign representing that the organ donor is of sound mind, the gift was made without coercion, was voluntary and without the influence of any drug that could impair the decision making process.

The anatomical gift does not become effective until the death of the donor/testator of the will.

Driver's License

In an effort to encourage organ donations, gifting is permitted by a notation on a driver's license. Organ donor registration by driver's license or by a separate identification document is available in person or online through the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles. The decision to donate must be confirmed each time you renew your driver's license. For more details see the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission web page under "organ donor."

Recording/Representative

One can make a recording to gift an organ when a written document is not possible. Still, informing your personal representative of your wish to donate your organs at the time of death may be a better option than a recording.

Under current New Jersey laws, the following may serve as a personal representative: spouse, domestic partner, adult son or daughter, either parent, adult brother or sister, guardian of the person at the time of death or whom ever has been named and given authority.

Anatomical gifting is desperately needed for the preservation of life and the advancement of medical science. Why become an organ donor? - see NJSharingNetwork.org. NJSharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs/tissue for NJ residents needing life saving transplants.

This Valentine's Day consider giving proofs of love through anatomical gifting! Till next week, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss "tax clauses in wills."

Victoria M. Dalton is an attorney with the well-respected law firm of Hoffman DiMuzio.

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Please note: Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational articles about the law and is not legal advice!

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