LESSON PLAN: LEARNING FROM MY CHILDREN ABOUT ESTATE PLANNING
TEACHERS: LUKE, MAUREEN, JOHN, AND PAUL
GRADE: HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR, COLLEGE SOPHOMORE, COLLEGE JUNIOR, COLLEGE GRADUATE
LESSON # 4
CHECK A BOX, SAVE A LIFE
My son Luke had two goals when he went to the DMV at age 16. Become a licensed driver and an organ donor. Luke believed that a driver’s license would provide more freedom to his life and that organ donation could someday provide more freedom to someone else’s life. Luke even quoted a statistic to me, “Organ donation could save up to 8 lives.” Luke is correct in believing in the power of organ donation. Indeed, one organ, eye, and tissue donor can save and heal more than 75 lives. An incredibly powerful gift to society.
WE ALL WANT TO BE DONORS, RIGHT?
Most of us living in the U.S. think like Luke. In fact, 95% of us would agree to be organ donors. Regrettably, thinking is not doing. Only 58% of us are actually signed up. Lower donor rates occur for a variety of reasons, but mostly it is due to a lack of communication of our desire to donate. If we want to be donors, we can sign up at the DMV like Luke. But we can also just communicate to our family and friends our desire to be an organ donor. It is that simple.
Sadly, 20 people die each day for lack of a donor. Every 10 minutes another person is added to the donor waiting list; 113,000 people are currently waiting for donors.
A BIG NUMBER
GEN Z TO THE RESCUE
At first, this seems like a problem that cannot be solved. Demand more than outstrips supply. Enter Gen Z.
THEY ALL ARE DONORS
Luke's siblings (Paul, John, and Maureen), like Luke, automatically checked the box to be organ donors when they obtained their drivers’ licenses. To them there was not even a choice to be made. Who would ever choose not to try to save 8 lives?
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
To the Gen Z generation, making a difference is important. Sometimes, making a difference is a lot of work (reversing global warming). Agreeing to save 8 lives before you die? That is an easy box to check.
Frankly, making a difference should be important to all of us. Mostly, it is. Nowadays it is second nature to wear a car seat belt, abstain from smoking cigarettes, and drive sober. Admittedly, for some of us, those new behaviors were slow to change. Still, the change is happening. It is making the world a better place.
DYED IN THE WOOL
To Gen Z these changed behaviors are part of the fabric of their lives. Soon, organ donation will be part of that fabric. If high schoolers are so informed about organ donation that they can quote statistics and just check a box at the DMV to become a donor, the younger generations will eliminate that donor wait list in no time.
THE RISE OF ESTATE PLANNING
Like organ donation, estate planning is also on the rise, thanks to the younger generation. Younger people are becoming more educated about the necessity of estate planning documents. Thankfully, younger people are learning from the mistakes (lack of planning) made by older generations.
Younger people recognize the value of medical directives to ensure that their families have access to their medical information and the ability to make medical decisions on their behalf in the case of medical emergencies. As the younger generation has taken on the role of parenting, they are realizing the necessity of creating wills with guardianship designations for their children.
Now that younger people are becoming homeowners and acquiring assets, they see the benefit of creating an estate plan to identify desired beneficiaries of their property. Through estate planning younger people are avoiding the time, expense, and inconvenience of the guardianship and probate court systems as experienced by older family members.
Thanks to Gen Z, we are becoming an opt in society. Opt in to be an organ donor. Opt in to have an estate plan for the unexpected. Opt in to a great life! Thanks Gen Z!