Can I donate my sister’s body to science, as was dictated in her Will, if she died in a different state?

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Can I donate my sister’s body to science, as was dictated in her Will, if she died in a different state?

She committed suicide in VA and state law outlaws the donation of a body which was autopsied. What can we do to make sure her wishes are fulfilled?

Asked on October 17, 2010 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  If the state law is as you say then you may be stuck on the ability to donate her whole body to science.  But does the state law outlaw the ability to donate some of her organs - like her eyes, etc.?  That may be an avenue to explore although the time frame in order to be able to use them may have passed by now.  You will have to check with an attorney and a physician there to resolve these questions.  If you find that it is not possible to do either of these then maybe it might be a gesture in the right direction for you to make a donation to science in her name.  Was there a specific teaching hospital or medical school she wished to donate her body to?  Then make the donation there.  Good luck.


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