Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Care at the End of Life - Important Decisions

Organ donation continued...

People under the age of 18 must have a parent's or guardian's consent to donate organs.

Even if you complete a donor card or indicate your wishes on your driver's license, it is important to discuss your decision with your family. After your death, your family may be asked to give consent prior to donating your organs. For this reason, it is important to involve your family.

Organ donation will not disfigure your body, nor will it interfere with your funeral, including plans for an open casket funeral. You and your family will not be responsible for the costs associated with organ donation. Those costs are paid by the person who receives the organ.

Estate planning

As you make end-of-life decisions, an attorney can advise you on how best to organize your estate so your family can handle your affairs after your death. Also, a financial planner or social worker may be available in your community or through a local hospital or hospice program. If your finances are limited, some attorneys and accountants offer services at a reduced rate or at no cost (pro bono).

Estate planning may include:

  • Writing a will. If you already have a will, it may need to be updated. If you do not make your wishes known in a will, your state law may dictate what happens to your property when you die. Typically, property is distributed to a spouse, to children, or if there is no spouse or children, to other relatives. If no relatives can be found, your property may be taken by the state. Consider appointing a person to oversee your property after your death. This person is called an executor. After you write your will, keep it in a safe place, and let your executor and close family members know where it can be found.
  • Appointing someone to make financial decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so.
  • Choosing one or more people to care for your minor children (guardianship). A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which an adult has the court-ordered authority and responsibility to care for a child under the age of 18 or for an incapacitated adult.
  • Ensuring your records are in a safe, accessible place. Documentation of a life insurance policy, pension, retirement account, or annuity should be stored in a safe place, along with bank account information, deeds to real estate, or investment information. Close family members, the executor of your estate, and your attorney should know where this information is kept.

Choosing the care you want

As soon as you are diagnosed with a serious illness, you may benefit from palliative care to relieve pain and maintain comfort. For more information, see the topic Palliative Care.

1|2|3|4|5

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 06, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

blueberries
Eating for a longer, healthier life.
romantic couple
Dr. Ruth’s bedroom tips for long-term couples.
 
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
 
fast healthy snack ideas
Article
how healthy is your mouth
Tool
 
dog on couch
Tool
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
champagne toast
Slideshow
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Quiz
 
Man feeding woman
Slideshow
two senior women laughing
Article