Organ donation isn't a major financial topic, but it is a major consideration that has some financial aspects to it. Take a few minutes to learn a little more and to give it some thought.

By donating organs and tissues, something positive can result from the death of you or a loved one. There are long lists of critically ill people waiting for organs, and there aren't enough donated organs to go around. By donating your organs, you may save several lives!

Here are some things to know:

  • Acceptable donors range in age from newborns to senior citizens.
  • If you want to donate your organs, you'll need to: (a) indicate that on your driver's license, (b) carry an organ donor card, and/or (c) tell your family. Informing your family of your wishes is vital, because sometimes there can be confusion at the time of death. Don't let your grieving loved ones make the wrong decision or spend time fretting over what your wishes would be.
  • Donation doesn't disfigure a body. An open casket will still be a possibility.
  • If you're an organ donor, doctors and hospitals shouldn't treat you any differently. Don't expect to receive less care.
  • There is often an extra need for organs and tissues of minorities, as transplants often are more successful when made between members of the same ethnic or racial group.
  • The donation of organs and tissues does not cost the donor anything.

A final option you might consider is donating your entire body to science. There are several benefits to total body donation. For starters, it can lead to medical progress. At the very least, a body can be used to train future doctors, and can also be used in research. Both healthy and sick bodies can be used. Another benefit is financial: by donating a body, there's usually no need to buy a casket or cemetery plot, or to pay for cremation. Alternatively, some schools or institutions will cremate or bury the body for you after the research is concluded -- or they'll pay for it. If you're interested in donating your body to a particular institution, contact the institution directly.

You can learn more about organ (and body) donation here:

Learn more about last-days planning from an article about how much funerals cost, the Funeral Consumers Alliance, Profits of Death, and the long but informative Funerals and Ripoffs. Finally, a good (though not entirely unbiased) resource for learning about estate planning issues is Estate Planning Links.

For lots of tips on how to get your life in order, financially and otherwise, including how to lop off several hundred dollars from your monthly or yearly expenses, try our new newsletter, Motley Fool Green Light. It's full of personal finance guidance and practical advice, and we suspect it will more than pay for itself in short order.