Over 85% of Ontarians support organ donation, but fewer than 25% have actually registered their consent to donate through the Trillium Gift of Life Network (go to https://beadonor.ca to register). Nearly 1,500 people in Ontario are waiting for a life-saving transplant every day. One donor can save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance as many as 75 others through tissue donation.
To assist estate planners in canvassing this important issue, Ian M. Hull, along with Sam Marr of Landy Marr Kats LLP, worked with the Trillium Gift of Life Network to create a Toolkit for Legal Professionals. The Toolkit includes precedent letters and can assist legal professionals in advising their clients about organ donation. Lawyers who offer estate planning services can review the Toolkit and consider including the following items on their checklist when working with clients:
- Whether testator wishes for organs and/or tissues to be donated following death;
- Communicating with estate trustee about wishes re: organ donation;
- Communicating with (other) family members about wishes re: organ donation;
- Discussing registration of consent with Trillium Gift of Life Network.
Organ and tissue donation may not be top of mind for most people, but wills and estate practitioners have the unique opportunity to bring this important and relevant issue to the attention of clients who are already considering end-of-life issues. Estate planning can be about saving more than just probate fees.