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How do I leave my body to science?

When it comes to making end-of-life arrangements, many individuals desire to make a gift of their physical body to scientific research. This noble gesture is an excellent choice for those wish to make it part of their legacy, but it does require some forethought and planning.

If you wish to gift your body to be used for scientific research, it is essential that this desire is clearly expressed in your will. Many family members and loved ones may find this idea objectionable for any number of reasons, so it is also important on a practical level that you make time to discuss your wishes with the executor of your will. It may also be prudent to discuss these wishes with your attorney, so that he or she is aware of this desire ahead of time if there are any parties who object when the time comes.

Most groups who accept such gifts on behalf of the scientific community request that donors undergo a simple medical screening prior to donation. This is generally able to be completed over the phone. While it is not entirely necessary to have chosen a specific organization to receive your body upon your passing, it is extremely helpful for those who will be charged with executing your wishes. Most organizations who accept such donations offer to cover the associated costs, and some offer additional considerations, such as planting a tree to commemorate your gift.

Creating a will that establishes a legacy you wish to leave is a great privilege and responsibility. If you have any further questions about how to create your own ideal will, an experienced attorney can help ensure that your wishes are made known and are legally binding.

Source:, "How Does the Body Donation Process Work?," accessed Aug. 23, 2016

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