The Law on Organ Donation

Written by Sarah Hughes, Private Client Assistant at Spire Solicitors LLP Wymondham office. 

The new law surrounding organ and tissue donation, which came into effect on 20th May 2020, provides that people will automatically be ‘opted in’ to the organ donation scheme.

The implication is that if a person with full mental capacity, who is over the age of 18 years, and has resided in England for more than 12 months, does not wish to have their organs donated upon death, they will have to ‘opt out’ from the organ donation register.

With this new law in place, it is important to inform family or friends as to how you feel in relation to organ and tissue donation, as even though the new law states people will be “opted in”, your family or next of kin will still be consulted by the medical professionals in this regard. If family are unaware of your decision and no other record states your wishes, this could be a difficult decision for your loved ones to make at an already stressful time.

For the avoidance of doubt, we strongly recommend decisions in relation to organ and tissue donation are recorded in a Will.  As well as recording your funeral wishes, an additional clause can be included within a Will covering the matter of organ donation too. The preparation of a Will and expressly stating such wishes provides clarity to those who are closest to you.

A further consideration is the preparation of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) for Health and Welfare in which you can also express a wish in relation to organ donation.

Spire Solicitors LLP offers support and guidance to all our clients throughout the Will and Lasting Power of Attorney preparation process. In addition, we are on hand to support individuals who have experienced bereavements and provide advice to Executors on the administration of Estates.

If you are interested in making a Will, Lasting Powers of Attorney or require assistance following a bereavement, please contact the Wymondham Private Client team on 01953 606351.