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Organ donation in England has moved to an ‘opt out’ system

From 20 May 2020, a change to English law now determines that all adults will now be considered as organ donors when they die unless they have recorded a decision not to donate or are in one of the following excluded groups:

  • Those under the age of 18
  • People who lack the mental capacity to understand the new arrangements and take the necessary action
  • Visitors to England, and those not living here voluntarily
  • People who have lived in England for less than 12 months before their death

This can only be changed if the person has opted out of organ donation or the deceased’s family intervenes.

It is believed that this change in the law, named Max and Keira’s law after a boy whose life was saved when he received the heart of a nine-year old girl who had passed away, will save around 700 lives each year.

If you wish to ‘opt out’ there are two main mechanisms:

  • The NHS Organ Donor Register
  • Your Will: Think about using your Will to record your opt out, but also ensure you tell your loved ones so they are fully aware of your wishes while you are still living. If you have no Will in place, this is the perfect time to consider making a Will and formally recording your wish to opt out at the same time

For expert advice in connection with the matter, please contact our Wills & Probate team on 01926 422 101 or 02476 229 582.


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