Massachusetts Anatomical Gift Act Law

Uniform Anatomical Gift – General – Massachusetts

Section 4: Who may make anatomical gift before donor’s death

An anatomical gift of a donor’s body or part may be made during the life of the donor for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research or education in the manner provided in section 5 by:

(1) the donor, if the donor is an adult or if the donor is a minor and is:

(i) emancipated; or

(ii) authorized under state law to apply for a driver’s license or identification card;

(2) an agent of the donor including, but not limited to, a health care agent appointed under a health care proxy pursuant to chapter 201D, unless the power of attorney for health care or other record prohibits the agent from making an anatomical gift;

(3) a parent of the donor, if the donor is an unemancipated minor; or

(4) the donor’s guardian.

Section 5: Manner of making anatomical gift before donor’s death

A donor may make an anatomical gift:

(1) by authorizing a statement or symbol indicating that the donor has made an anatomical gift to be imprinted on the donor’s driver’s license or identification card;

(2) by a will;

(3) during a terminal illness or injury of the donor, by any form of communication addressed to at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness; or

(4) as provided in subsection (b).

A donor or other individual authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 4 may make a gift by a donor card or other record signed by the donor or other individual making the gift or by authorizing a statement or symbol indicating that the donor has made an anatomical gift to be included on a donor registry. If the donor or other individual is physically unable to sign a record, the record may be signed by another individual at the direction of the donor or other individual and such record shall:

(1) be witnessed by at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the donor or other individual; and

(2) state that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in clause (1).

Revocation, suspension, expiration or cancellation of a driver’s license or identification card upon which an anatomical gift has been indicated shall not invalidate the gift.

An anatomical gift made by will shall take effect upon the donor’s death whether or not the will is probated. Invalidation of the will after the donor’s death shall not invalidate the gift.

Section 6: Amending or revoking anatomical gift before donor’s death

A donor or other individual authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 4 may amend or revoke an anatomical gift by:

(1) a record signed by:

(i) the donor;

(ii) the other individual; or

(iii) subject to subsection (b), another individual acting at the direction of the donor or other individual if such donor or other individual is physically unable to sign; or

(2) a later-executed document of gift that amends or revokes a previous document of gift or portion of a document of gift, either expressly or by inconsistency.

A record signed pursuant to subclause (iii) of clause (1) of subsection (a) shall:

(1) be witnessed by at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the donor or other individual; and

(2) state that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in clause (1).

A donor or other individual authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 4 may revoke an anatomical gift by the destruction or cancellation of the document of gift, or the portion of the document of gift used to make the gift, with the intent to revoke the gift.

A donor may amend or revoke an anatomical gift that was not made in a will by any form of communication during a terminal illness or injury addressed to at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness.

A donor who makes an anatomical gift in a will may amend or revoke the gift in the manner provided for amendment or revocation of wills or as provided in subsection (a).

Section 7: Refusal to make anatomical gift; effect of refusal

An individual may refuse to make an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part by:

(1) a record signed by: (i) the individual; or (ii) subject to subsection (b), another individual acting at the direction of the individual if the individual is physically unable to sign;

(2) the individual’s will, whether or not the will is admitted to probate or invalidated after the individual’s death; or

(3) any form of communication made by the individual during the individual’s terminal illness or injury addressed to at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness.

A record signed pursuant to subclause (ii) of clause (1) of subsection (a) shall:

(1) be witnessed by at least 2 adults, at least 1 of whom shall be a disinterested witness, who have signed at the request of the individual; and

(2) state that it has been signed and witnessed as provided in clause (1).

An individual who has made a refusal may amend or revoke the refusal:

(1) in the manner provided in subsection (a) for making a refusal;

(2) by subsequently making an anatomical gift pursuant to section 5 that is inconsistent with the refusal; or

(3) by destroying or canceling the record or portion thereof evidencing the refusal, with the intent to revoke the refusal.

Except as otherwise provided in subsection (h) of section 8, in the absence of an express, contrary indication by the individual set forth in the refusal, an individual’s unrevoked refusal to make an anatomical gift of the individual’s body or part shall bar all other persons from making an anatomical gift of that individual’s body or part.

Section 9: Who may make anatomical gift of decedent’s body or part

An anatomical gift of a decedent’s body or part for transplantation, therapy, research or education may be made by any member of any of the following classes of individuals who is reasonably available, in the order of priority as specified below:

(1) an agent of the decedent at the time of death who could have made an anatomical gift under clause (2) of section 4 immediately before the decedent’s death;

(2) the spouse of the decedent;

(3) an adult child of the decedent;

(4) a parent of the decedent;

(5) an adult sibling of the decedent;

(6) an adult grandchild of the decedent;

(7) a grandparent of the decedent;

(8) an adult who exhibited special care and concern for the decedent;

(9) a person who was acting as a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of death; and

(10) any other person having the authority to dispose of the decedent’s body.

If there is more than 1 member of a class listed in clause (1), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7), (9) or (10) of subsection (a) who is entitled to make an anatomical gift, an anatomical gift may be made by a member of the class unless that member or a person to whom the gift may pass under section 11 knows of an objection by another member of the class. If an objection is known, the gift shall be made by a majority of the members of the class who are reasonably available.

An individual shall not make an anatomical gift if, at the time of the decedent’s death, an individual in a prior class under subsection (a) is reasonably available to make or object to the making of an anatomical gift.

Section 10: Manner of making, amending, or revoking anatomical gift of decedent’s body or part

An individual authorized to make an anatomical gift under section 9 may make an anatomical gift by a document of gift signed by the individual making the gift or by that individual’s oral communication that is electronically recorded or is contemporaneously reduced to a record and signed by the individual receiving the oral communication.

An anatomical gift by a person authorized in section 9 may be amended or revoked orally or in a record by any member of a prior class who is or becomes reasonably available after the execution of the document of gift. If more than 1 member of the prior class is or becomes reasonably available after the document of gift was executed, the gift made by an individual authorized under section 9 may be:

(1) amended only if a majority of the reasonably available members agree to amend of the gift; or

(2) revoked if a majority of the reasonably available members agree to the revoking of the gift or if the available members are equally divided as to whether to revoke the gift.

A revocation under subsection (b) shall be effective only if the procurement organization, transplant hospital, physician or technician knows of the revocation before an incision has been made to remove a part from the donor’s body or before an invasive procedure has begun to prepare the recipient.

Section 13: Delivery of document of gift not required; right to examine

A document of gift need not be delivered during the donor’s lifetime to be effective.

Upon or after an individual’s death, a person in possession of a document of gift or a refusal to make an anatomical gift with respect to the individual shall allow examination and copying of the document of gift or refusal by a person authorized to make or object to the making of an anatomical gift with respect to the individual or by a person to whom the gift could pass under section 11.

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Inside Massachusetts Anatomical Gift Act Law