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Facebook Organ Donation Tool Can't Replace a Proper Living Will

On Tuesday morning, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on ABC that he added an organ donation tool on Facebook, which would allow donors to put on their timelines their decision to donate organs.

Shortly thereafter, organ donation organizations began receiving phone calls and emails with people interested in becoming organ donors. Zuckerberg said that he was motivated in part by his late friend Steve Jobs and in part by his girlfriend, a medical student.

The Facebook tool will be yet another way for prospective organ donors to specify their wishes to donate their organs upon their impending death.

Organ donation requires that the donor be brain-dead but kept alive by machines. A person can usually designate themselves as an organ donor on their drivers' license or by specifying their wishes to loved ones.

But one of the most effective ways to specify organ donation is through an estate plan.

How does an estate plan tie into organ donation? When people think of an estate plan, they often think of the disposition of their assets upon death.

A full estate plan has many documents. Some of these documents are related to incapacity and health care decisions. Specifically, an advance health care directive can specify your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot make your own decisions.

For prospective organ donors who want to be more precise or specific about their organ donation wishes, they can specify these types of things in the health care directive.

While the Facebook tool certainly helps people make and memorialize their decisions on organ donation, a Facebook timeline by no means replaces a solid estate plan.

Nevertheless, Mark Zuckerberg's new idea has shed light on the issue and importance of organ donation.

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