Almost everyone. Sooner, rather than later.
The reality is that even today, for most cultures and communities, a discussion about death is still considered one of the least comfortable conversations to have. The vast majority of people don’t want to think about it, let alone talk about it. Oftentimes this leaves loved ones responsible for final arrangement decisions and financial responsibilities during a time when the grief of loss is challenging enough. A national survey by The Conversation Project found that 9 in 10 Americans want to discuss their loved ones’ and their own end-of-life care, but approximately only 3 in 10 Americans have actually had these types of conversations.
Planning for the conversation is helpful. Many people are surprised to learn that what they think their surviving loved ones want is very different from what they expect. Discussing disagreements during a time of calm rather than crisis typically leads to more effective resolution. For example, AGR routinely finds that many of the people who register with our program in advance and sign their own Willed Consent Form often choose Not To Return Ashes to their family members- the primary reason is an assumption their loved ones won’t want their ashes back, when in reality around 90% of surviving donor family members do want ashes returned . Taking the thoughts of other loved ones into consideration and avoiding surprises at the time of passing is paramount to ensuring donor wishes are followed through.
Anatomy Gifts Registry offers the flexibility for individuals to sign themselves up or donate someone else, provided their donation and cremation authorization is obtainable from an authorizing agent or legal next-of-kin. In addition, someone must act as the donor’s medical historian.