Making your wishes known

12 Mar 2020

When discussing new wills with clients, funeral arrangements are usually part of the conversation.  Any preferences expressed in a will aren’t legally binding, but executors will typically follow the wishes of the deceased.

The sensitive subject of organ donation is regularly raised too.  Many people have strong views, some are very specific about what organs and tissues can be used.  The problem sometimes arises at death when there have been no specific wishes discussed or recorded; families frequently struggle to make a decision about organ donation at a time of heightened emotions.

Whilst a very large proportion of adults are in favour of organ donation, less than 40% of the adult population of the UK have actually registered as donors1.  Less than half2 of grieving families give consent for donation if they don’t know the deceased’s wishes.  Families can, in fact, override a registered donor’s wishes currently.

Organ donation in England is about to be turned on its head when the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 comes into effect in May 2020.  The new system will mean that all adults in England will be considered potential donors unless they have recorded their express wish not to donate on the NHS Organ Donation Register.

Clearly this is a very significant change and a very sensitive issue; however it’s one that could actually save hundreds of lives, and take a difficult decision out of the hands of a grieving family.

The law has been dubbed ‘Max and Keira’s law’ in honour of a boy who received a heart transplant, and the girl who donated it.

From 20 May, everyone in England over the age of 18 will be considered to be in favour of donating their organs and tissues when they die, unless they have recorded a decision not to donate their organs, have appointed someone to decide for them, or belong to a specified excluded group.

The government is planning a public awareness campaign to make sure that people understand how the system has changed and the choices available to them.

We will, of course, remind clients what the new system entails, and particularly that an opt-out must be correctly registered to be effective.
 
1 https://www.statista.com/statistics/380141/individuals-registered-on-organ-donation-register-uk/
 
2 https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/05/organ-donation-rules-change-presume-consent
 

Further reading

Employer's question: how to effectively deal with stress related sickness in lockdown

Blog
13/04/2021
There are a variety of contributing factors caused by the pandemic that have seen a rise in stress related claims at work, but how can employers deal with this more effectively?
Read more Read

Use of statutory demand to make company insolvent suspended until June

Blog, Legal Updates
08/04/2021
Cheraine Williams looks at more temporary Covid-driven measures that will protect businesses and tenants from possible legal action
Read more Read

New guidance issued for valuation of flats and investigating fire safety

Blog, Legal Updates
07/04/2021
Cheraine Williams looks a the current situation facing leaseholders looking to sell or re-finance their property; will new guidance provide clarity?
Read more Read

Government sets new energy targets for domestic and commercial buildings

Blog, Legal Updates
06/04/2021
UK law requires net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; new rules and standards for heating and powering buildings will have a significant impact
Read more Read
  • Brighton Office

    1 Jubilee Street

    Brighton

    East Sussex

    BN1 1GE

  • Gatwick Office

    Griffin House

    135 High Street

    Crawley

    West Sussex

    RH10 1DQ

  • Guildford Office

    Wonersh House

    The Guildway

    Old Portsmouth Road

    Guildford

    Surrey

    GU3 1LR

  • Horsham Office

    Ridgeland House

    15 Carfax

    Horsham

    West Sussex

    RH12 1DY

  • London Office

    6 New Street Square

    New Fetter Lane

    London

    EC4A 3BF

  • Get in touch