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Legal News | 18.01.24

Life After Death

It is not only material assets that can impact others after your death, but also your own body.

Since the law in England changed in 2020, if you wish to ‘opt out’ of being an organ or tissue donor, you need to register your decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register; but what steps should you take if you would like to donate your body to medical science?

By donating your body to medical science, you really can benefit generations, as it can be used to teach healthcare professionals surgical techniques and can be used in studies to improve the understanding of the human body and disease.

If you do want to donate your body to medical science then you need to take action during your lifetime as body donation requires written, witnessed consent.

Points to note:

  • An executor is not allowed to donate a body for medical science unless previous consent has been given – this can be done by way of your Will but we recommend you contact the medical school most local to you to ensure they will accept you as a potential body donor and to obtain their consent form that you can then fill in.
  • When a whole body is donated, the funeral is usually arranged by the relevant medical school as there can be a delay of up to 3 years before the funeral takes place – memorial services are arranged on a regular basis to ensure friends and family can pay their respects.
  • Donor bodies can be rejected by medical schools – this is usually based on the physical condition of a body and if a post-mortem was required, or if they simply have no need of the body.
  • Similar to organ donation, there is no maximum age for donating your body to science, the minimum age is however 17 (some medical schools will impose a minimum age 18).

If you would like to update your Will to include any such wishes, please contact our Private Client Team at wealth@wansbroughs.com.


Posted By Our Wills, Tax, Trusts & Probate Team