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Leaving a legacy of life with organ donation

Whether or not you decide to leave part of your body to someone else is an intensely personal decision. If you're already considering estate planning and other matters, then you might want to put some thought into organ donation. Just as the physical assets you've accumulated through your life can be left to help your friends and family in the future, your organs can be left to provide someone else with a chance at life.

According to the U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation, there are almost 120,000 people of all ages waiting on a possible organ in the United States.The imbalance in supply and demand means that not all of those people will receive the organs they need; only about 30,970 organ transplants were done in 2015, for example. Every day, around 22 people die in the country while they are waiting on a new organ.

It might seem like everyone would be willing to take this step to provide life to others, but often, people are fearful about organ donation. They believe signing up to be on the list could impact their own health care, which isn't true. Some people might also have religious qualms about organ donation; in such a case, consider talking with a spiritual leader to understand whether donation works with your belief structure.

Only about 3 people in every 1,000 that pass away die in a way that makes organ donation possible, making it even more important for people to sign up. April is National Donate Life Month, which is a great time to consider how you plan to use your body after you are gone. If you want to ensure your decisions for or against organ donation are solidified, consider talking to your estate planning professional for help laying out end-of-life care requirements.

Source: U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation, "Organ Donation Statistics," accessed April 07, 2017

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