Estate planning really comes to making difficult choices and ensuring that those wishes are followed out. You need to make some of those decisions now because you may not be around or able to make them later. One of those important decisions is what you want to happen to your body after you die. You may have a place important to your family that you would like to be buried, or have your cremated remains spread. You might prefer to leave that choice to someone you choose. Some people decide that they would like to donate their body to science after they pass.
If you’re interested in donating your body, you may have questions.
There are a few programs for body donation in Maryland. One is through the Maryland State Anatomy Board and another is Anatomy Gift Registry, a non-profit located in Hanover, Maryland. If you wish to donate to a specific program, you can contact them or make your wishes known in your Advance Directive. You can also make your preference for body donation known in your Advance Directive and let someone you trust select the particular program.
No matter what particular program you choose, the programs generally operate in a similar way. After the body is donated it is used for medical education and research study. You can still be an organ donor and donate your body for research. Your family can still have a memorial service and the ashes can be returned to your family if you wish, but if you would prefer a funeral service with a body present, you should not explore other options.
Like organ donations, body donations are controlled by the Maryland Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. The law ensures that the wishes of a person to donate, or to not donate, his or her body are followed. The law also provides a priority for who may donate a body after death.
If you have preferences, it is best to put them into writing in your Advance Directive. An Advance Directive is generally preferable to putting the preferences in a will, because the will is often not looked at until it is too late for donation.
Donating your body is an important decision that can have an important impact on others after your death. You should give it careful consideration and discuss it with your loved ones. If you are concerned about the legal aspects, or need help in creating an Advance Directive, talk to an attorney experienced in estate planning.
Montefusco Estate Planning, LLC is an estate planning law firm in Frederick, MD. If you are interested in our services, contact us today. This information is written for the context of Maryland estate planning but is not legal advice for anyone. For more information, read our disclaimer.