Thanks to medical research, we enjoy longer and healthier lives. Many of us wish to contribute to these advancements even after passing. Whole-body donation is a selfless way to support the study of medicine and the development of new treatments. However, it’s a highly personal decision that deserves careful consideration and communication with your loved ones.

Honoring the Gift

Medical schools deeply respect individuals who choose whole-body donation. Many hold annual ceremonies honoring the invaluable contributions donors have made to medical education and research. However, this is a choice that requires advanced planning and a lot of open communication with your loved ones if you choose to go this route.

What to Know Before Deciding

Whole-body donation differs from traditional funeral and burial arrangements in the following ways:

  • Timing: Upon passing, the body is usually transported immediately to the medical facility. This can be difficult for loved ones unaware of your wishes.
  • No Funeral: There’s generally no traditional funeral or viewing. Some programs might offer a memorial service later.
  • Cremation: Following the studies, remains are typically cremated. Ashes might be returned to the family or scattered by the institution, depending on the program.

Planning for Your Wishes

If whole-body donation is your choice, proactive planning is essential. As a Long Beach estate attorney, I advise clients to take the following steps:

  • Research Programs: Locate reputable body donation programs, and thoroughly understand their procedures and requirements.
  • Inform Loved Ones: Openly discuss your decision with your family to prevent unexpected complications.
  • Formalize Your Intent: Include your wishes in your estate plan and ensure family members have access to necessary information.

Get Help Making Your Wishes Known

Deciding on whole-body donation is a deeply personal choice. If you wish to give this incredible gift, careful planning helps ensure your wishes are honored. Our Long Beach estate planning law firm can assist in putting the necessary legal steps in place to carry out your intentions. Simply contact us at 310-782-6322 and we’ll help you create a plan that ensures your legacy of helping others lives on through medical advancement.