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Organ Donation: Why it's important to inform your family of your wishes

Posted at 4:15 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 18:20:00-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Talking to your family about your wishes after your death can be an uncomfortable task, but it's also an important one.

Donate Life KY is reminding people to have a conversation with your loved ones about everything from whether you want to donate your organs to life insurance.

For kids under 17, the topic of organ donation is especially important. Even if they sign up to be an organ donor when they get their driver's license, the decision to donate their organs legally belongs to their parents.

Legally, the family would also make that decision for adults who have not made their wishes clear.

"By making that clear beforehand, our families are left at peace and are not forced to be uncomfortable and make a decision so quickly so that they can go on and finish the process of grieving over their loved ones," Donate Life KY community educator Adrienne Poole said.

For adults who have registered as an organ donor, that registration is legally binding. According to Poole, in most cases, families are relieved that they do not have to make the decision themselves.

"It's just one less decision that they have to make in the hardest moment that they've ever had to face," Poole said.

She said having life insurance and a living will are also important for relieving the burden on your family after death.

It is also important to have a conversation about what you would want your funeral to look like or whether you want to be buried or cremated.

To register to be an organ donor, you can go to your circuit clerk's office when they renew your driver's license. You can also do so at your regional office when you obtain a REAL ID.

You can also register on registermeky.org.

Just this week, a new online portal launched making registering even easier. As a result of Senate Bill 77, Kentuckians can now join the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry online after participating in programs with the state office.

For example, Poole said you can join the list when you register or renew a business, medical or even a fishing and hunting license.