What is the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act?

Originally established in 1968, the UAGA has undergone multiple revisions, more specifically, they were in 2006 and 1987.

The law’s implementation followed on the heels of a very sentimental scenario the year before. A successful heart transplant provided inspiration for the act.

It was the first countrywide legislation to govern the giving of organs and body parts as gifts. Further, this law offered an umbrella solution that took the place of previously confusing state laws. These state laws fell short of clarity and uniformity.

In other words, the UAGA is an anti-organ trafficking set of laws that’s currently active in all 50 states. Consequently, it prohibits the exchange of organs for cash, lessening the chances of black market trafficking.

So what’s the UAGA all about?

Akin to how a testator distributes his wealth upon death, a person can decide to give his body entirely, or parts of it, in the case of sudden death. Further, when he passes on according to the uniform anatomical gift act, he has a say in what happens to his remains.

This gift can transfer without probate litigation.

Further, even in the absence of a will, organs can go to those in need on the grounds of having acted in good faith.

Requirements for a valid anatomical gift in Florida

Aside from a will, an anatomical gift can also be made via a document.

Furthermore, the donation can be to a specific person or organization. For the gift to be legally accepted in the state, the document needs to bear the signatures of two people, as proof of witnessing parties in addition to the signature of the donor.

Additionally, the signing of the document must take place in the presence of the donor and two witnesses.

Delivery is not a prerequisite for validation. However, the submission of a “Uniform Donor Card” for appropriate departmental registration is necessary. The donor may choose to turn to any storage facility, such as a bank or hospital, for safekeeping. Further, interested parties can request the document upon the passing of the donor from the entity in possession of it.

1987 Revisions

A couple of grey areas in the first UAGA version necessitated revisions to tackle more specific matters.

It streamlined the consent seeking process while encouraging hospitals to put in place measures for picking out organ donors during routine care.

The revisions also ensured that the individual’s organ donation wishes did not take precedence over a coroner’s investigation. The 1987 UAGA also gave the donor the highest say in the matter, with next of kin’s and family members coming second. This meant that a distant cousin couldn’t designate an organ donation unless the children and the spouse of the donor agree to it.

As long as a consenting document existed, a hospital had the power to retrieve organs.

Twenty-six states enacted the 1987 version.

The 2006 Version

The need to accommodate advancements in science and medicine continues to motivate revisions. The first revision, in particular, was directly for this purpose. Since then the UAGA is smoothing out the transplant process and making the navigation of donation networks painless for the surviving family members.

In other words, people were dying and lawmakers wanted to create a seamless and fast way to fulfill the rising demands for organs.

The 2006 UAGA got around the need for testamentary duties. In other words, they took out stipulations requiring the presence of two witnesses. In the absence of the next of kin, the law gave medical professionals the power to carry out organ retrieval.

This 2006 revision also provided new avenues for consent. It’s famous for allowing verbal permission to express a desire to become an organ donor. When acquiring a driver’s license, everyday citizens can now apply to be an organ donor should they die with healthy organs intact.

Need more information?

Would you like to put in place an anatomical will?

Do you have more questions about the anatomical gift act in general? A Florida probate attorney like David A. Silverstone can help you find the answers you seek.