How Should I Write My Will Or Advanced Directives If My Wish Is To Donate My Body To Science?

It is essential to make your wishes known and do so in a fully enforceable manner after you can no longer speak for yourself.

There are several ways that you can memorialize your wishes.  Below is some guidance.

Make sure that your family members and friends know that you want to donate your body and/or brain to science.

The most important thing you can do is to discuss your wishes with all of your close family members.  Do not leave out anyone, particularly family members whom you are not close with.  To the extent that you can confirm your conversations with family members in an email or text, that is ideal.  If you cannot send out your own email or text, then the next best thing is to have someone else witness you expressing your wishes and memorialize the conversation with a short email or text.  You want to ensure that family members that do not agree with your decision cannot “muck up the works” by questioning your intent after you can no longer speak for yourself.

Complete the paperwork that Sunshine Donation supplies.

Our paperwork should stand up to a court challenge.  Our documents were drafted to comply with Florida trust and estate laws and are effectively an amendment to any will or testamentary intent you previously expressed.  We do not charge a fee to help you fill out and sign these documents.

If you cannot complete our paperwork, write down your intent to donate your brain and/or body to science.

A short sentence expressing your wishes will suffice.  Make certain you sign this paper in front of two witnesses that also sign the paper.  Each of the witnesses should be physically present when you sign the paper expressing your intent, and each witness should sign in front of the other witness.  All signatures should be dated, and there should be a notation of where the three of you were physically located when you signed. 

Make certain that your expression of intent also includes authorization to cremate your body at the conclusion of the donation process.

It is vital that you also authorize your cremation.  This should also be signed in front of the two witnesses, who should also acknowledge in writing that they were present when you signed your cremation authorization.

Other things to consider.

Your paperwork and expression of intent should not put any restrictions on how your body can be used for research.  Please also make sure that your paperwork does not state the following:

Do not state that you do not want to be donated for medical research or education

Do not state that you oppose being used by an international client

Do not state that you oppose going to a company with for-profit tax status