New organ donation law: giving you control
Around 6,000 people in the UK are on the transplant waiting list; and in 2018 alone, at least one person a day died while waiting for a transplant, according to the NHS. New laws on organ donation consent are coming into force in Spring 2020 which the government hopes will help save hundreds of lives.
The government says 80 per cent of people in England support organ donation but just 38 per cent have opted into the current NHS Organ Donor Register.
‘This often leaves bereaved families with difficult decisions to make,’ says Deborah Adams, Director of Private Client Services at Parnalls Solicitors. ‘If a family is not aware of someone’s wishes, then most do not consent to their loved one’s organs being donated. Whatever your wishes, this new law is a useful reminder that it is always a good idea to formalise your wishes in regard to the end of your life.’
What presumed consent will mean
When the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 comes into force in Spring 2020, anyone who dies will be presumed to have consented to donate all their organs unless they have specifically opted out or their relatives refuse permission.
Similar rules have already been in force in Wales since 2015.
Presumed consent will be limited to routine transplants and will not extend to rare procedures such as face or hand transplants.
What it means for you
If you are 18 or over, you will automatically be considered a potential organ donor, unless you decide to opt out or you are excluded under the rules. If you are happy for your organs to be donated after your death, ‘deemed consent’ means you do not need to do anything.
You need not worry that your organs will be harvested as soon as you die without any consultation. Your family will be consulted, and your faith and beliefs will also be taken into account before organ donation goes ahead.
If you are prepared to donate some organs but not others, then you should register as a donor with the NHS Organ Donor Register stating which organs and or tissue you are happy to donate.
Applicable only in England
The new law will only apply to adults in England; and you must have lived in England for at least 12 months before your death for the presumption to apply.
The law will not apply to those who lack mental capacity to understand what presumed consent means for a significant period before their death. For example, if someone was diagnosed with dementia in 2019, and their mental health rapidly deteriorates and they die a year later, there will be no presumed consent and their organs will not be harvested.
How to opt out
It is relatively simple to opt out of deemed consent, with two main mechanisms available:
- The NHS Organ Donor Register: You should opt out of deemed consent by recording your decision not to donate your organs on the register. If you are considering opting out, take specialist legal advice so you can be certain your ‘opt out’ on the register is effective;
- Your will: Think about using your will to record your opt out, as well as dealing with your property and other assets, but make sure you tell your loved ones and give them a copy of your will so that they are fully aware of your wishes while you are still living. If you have no will in place (or you need to review your existing will), now is the perfect time to consider making a will and formally recording your wish to opt out at the same time.
If you choose to opt out, it is wise to tell your family and friends what you have decided. You could also consider asking your solicitor to record your wishes alongside any instructions for your funeral.
Changing your mind
If you change your mind about organ donation, you can simply go to the NHS Organ Donor Register to record or amend your consent status. If you made a will in which you opt out, consider making a new will; or have a codicil drawn up and attached to your will to amend the clause relating to consent (or to add an opt out clause).
Can I appoint others to make the decision for me?
If you want to opt out or you are unsure, and you do not want to make the final decision yourself, consider delegating the decision to others. You can formally appoint up to two individuals with the register to make the decision, though they will need to sign a form in the presence of a witness for it to be effective.
It is crucial to consider who you trust to make this decision for you, and you should discuss it with them first, as it could be a very difficult decision for them to make.
Also, if you are considering appointing attorneys under a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, you could make known your wishes about organ donation consent as part of this process as well as other important decisions relating to your healthcare.
Safeguards for individuals
The law includes an important safeguard known as the ‘soft opt-out’ under which relatives can make known any unregistered objection of the deceased to organ donation that the deceased had.
For example, if your family know you have an objection to donating your organs, whether or not you register it, you would not be considered a potential donor.
If you are identified as a potential donor, specialist nurses will discuss donation with your family to ensure your wishes are respected.
The government is planning a public awareness campaign to ensure people understand what the new rules will mean in practice.
For further information, please contact Deborah Adams, Director of Private Client Services on 01566 772375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.
Site assembly for commercial development
Meeting your conveyancing solicitor, what you need to prepare
Do I need a cohabitation agreement?
Landlords’ options for enforcing commercial tenants’ obligations
Untangling Overseas Assets
KATHERINE FLASHMAN KITSON CELEBRATING 25 YEARS AS A DIRECTOR OF PARNALLS
Do you know the difference between…
When to consider appointing a professional attorney
Should I get a cohabitation agreement?
The Need for Updating Wills
The Right to Make Noise
Ill-health pension transfer not liable for IHT
Legal Time Limits - why so important?
Would you pay a premium for a south-facing garden?
Video-witnessed wills to be made legal
New Planning Relaxation Is Not the Whole Storey
How to minimise delays in obtaining Grant of Probate
Could you benefit from the Green Homes Grant?
A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM: new electrical safety regulations for residential tenancies
Property of Cornish residents who die without a will goes to Prince Charles
Does your lawyer progress your accident claim efficiently and provide you with a personal and professional service? Can i change solicitors for my accident claim?
What effect could the new changes to stamp duty have on property sales?
Preparing to sell your Launceston property
Staying safer in video meetings
Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air
Property Market Re-Opens in England
Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ
Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?
Had an Accident in Someone's Home?
Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?
Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs
Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.