Massachusetts has adopted the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, which authorizes you to make an anatomical gift of all or any part of your body. Anatomical gifts become effective upon your death and are made to a specified or unspecified donee.
The gift may designated on your driver’s license, in your will, by a recorded oral declaration, or via another document, so long as you are of sound mind and at least eighteen years old. An anatomical gift made within your will is effective upon your death, regardless of whether or not your will is probated, and it will remain valid even if the will is deemed invalid.
Many organizations that accept anatomical gifts provide forms that specifically list themselves as the donee/recipient of the anatomical gift. In the event that you do not designate your intent to make a valid anatomical gift during your lifetime or through your will, other individuals may also make such a gift on your behalf when you die.
Massachusetts laws list the individuals authorized to make an anatomical gift on your behalf in the following order of priority: your (1) spouse, (2) adult children, (3) parents, (4) adult siblings, (5) health care proxy, (6) guardian, or (7) any other person so authorized.
You may also refuse to make an anatomical gift. One way of executing your refusal is by signing a record, which is witnessed by at least two adults. You may also execute a refusal by stating it within your will, regardless of whether it is probated or invalidated. Additionally, any form of communication made during terminal illness or injury to at least 2 adults, one of whom must be disinterested, will also satisfy to render a refusal valid.
Donors or other individuals authorized to make anatomical gifts may also amend or entirely revoke a previously completed anatomical gift. There are several means of doing so, which include the following: signing a record witnessed by two adults, at least one of whom is disinterested, executing a later gift that amends or revokes the previous document either expressly or by inconsistence, or in the instance that the anatomical gift was made in a will, the gift may be amended or revoked in the same manner used to revoke or amend a will. Donors may also revoke their refusal of a gift by destroying or cancelling the record or any portion thereof.
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