Friday, June 29, 2007

UCC to Study Physician-Assisted Death

National news reports recently focused on the release from a Michigan prison on June 1, 2007, of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. He is "most noted for publicly championing a terminal patient's right to die via physician-assisted suicide and claims to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end".

For background, see: "The Kevorkian Verdict: The Life and Legacy of the Suicide Doctor", a "Frontline" presentation aired by the Public Broadcasting System on May 14, 1996.

For one such article regarding the Doctor's release, see "Physician-Assisted Suicide Advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian to Be Released From Prison", published May 27, 2007, by the Associated Press & posted online by Fox News:

For nearly a decade, Dr. Jack Kevorkian waged a defiant campaign to help other people kill themselves. * * *

His actions prompted battles over assisted suicide in many states.

But as he prepares to leave prison June 1 after serving more than eight years of a 10- to 25-year sentence in the death of a Michigan man, Kevorkian will find that there's still only one state that has a law allowing physician-assisted suicide — Oregon. * * *

Opponents defeated a measure in Vermont this year and are fighting similar efforts in California. Bills have failed in recent years in Hawaii, Wisconsin and Washington state, and ballot measures were defeated earlier by voters in Washington, California, Michigan and Maine. * * *
That article notes a long-term effect of Dr. Kevorkian's strident advocacy on this issue:
Experts say the attention on assisted suicide has helped raise awareness caring for the terminally ill.

"End-of-life care has increased dramatically" in Oregon with more hospice referrals and better pain management, says Valerie Vollmar, a professor at Oregon's Willamette University College of Law who writes extensively on physician-assisted death.

Opponents and supporters of physician-assisted death say more needs to be done to offer hospice care and pain treatment for those who are dying and suffering from debilitating pain.

"The solution here is not to kill people who are getting inadequate pain management, but to remove barriers to adequate pain management," said Burke Balch, director of the Powell Center for Medical Ethics at the National Right to Life Committee, which opposes assisted suicide.

"We need to come up with better solutions to human suffering and human need," Balch said.

More end-of-life care is needed, but doctors should have a right to assist those who ask for their help in dying, Wanzer said. * * *
Against this backdrop of the doctor's release (for medical reasons), I noted a Press Release, issued June 27, 2007, entitled "UCC Synod Calls for Study of Physician-Assisted Death", by Micki Carter, posted by the United Church of Christ.

It reported on a UCC "churchwide conversation" at its General Synod sessions that took the form of a much-debated, then authorized, resolution for a "study on physician-assisted death".

The United Church of Christ, at every setting, was urged Tuesday afternoon to initiate study and conversation about the possibility of supporting the legal right of a terminally ill and mentally competent adult to receive medication to hasten death.

The original resolution, brought to GS26 from the Northern California Nevada Conference and the Congregational Church of Belmont, Calif., called for the UCC to affirm physician aid in dying. However, a difficult and sometimes contentious committee process -- and the firm objection of the UCC Disabilities Ministries -- led to the decision to call for a study of the issue instead. * * *
According to the Press Release, the debate raised concerns regarding disabled persons, the physician's role, theology & morality, medical need, technology, and personal suffering. The resulting compromise was adoption of a resolution that "calls for a report on the physician aid in dying issue to be presented to General Synod 27 in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 2009."

Other church denominations are concerned with end-of-life care issues. For example, see:
  • "New institute at Duke focuses on end of life issues", dated March 3, 2000, by the United Methodist News Service -- "United Methodist-related Duke University has launched a program aimed at addressing end-of-life issues, such as the provision of quality care to people approaching death."
  • "Schiavo case underscores need for end-of-life discussion", dated March 31, 2005, by Rev. Larry Hollon, of the United Methodist Church -- "The past few weeks have been rough for me. The spectacle surrounding the Terri Schiavo case has evoked personal memories that cut deeply. I've thought about this intensely, prayed about it and tried to put it in perspective."
  • "Episcopal Church offers resources for end-of-life issues", from the Episcopal News Service, dated March 22, 2005 -- "While the Episcopal Church's General Convention has not specifically addressed the situation of Terri Schiavo -- the Florida woman who suffered severe brain damage in 1990 and has relied on a feeding tube to keep her alive since -- several resolutions have been passed regarding end-of-life issues. These include a 1991 resolution regarding prolongation of life. A helpful resource for Episcopalians seeking to understand the issues is the following book: Faithful Living, Faithful Dying: Anglican Reflections on End of Life Care."
  • "Articles About Dying", posted online by the Lutheran Partners magazine, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
On March 31, 2005, the UCC, too, had reacted to the death of Terri Schiavo, by issuing a statement entitled "UCC leader responds to Terri Schiavo's death". It included good advice for individuals:
The lesson we may want to take from this is the need for our pastors and congregations to encourage open discussion about end of life issues, and urge members -- regardless of age -- to make their wishes known, not merely in private conversation, but in living wills and durable powers of attorney that are shared forthrightly with all of one's closest relatives," Thomas said. * * *
Now -- at least within the UCC -- such discussions also will occur at the level of the church:
"The church really hasn't looked at the issue of end-of-the-life choices. I'm very pleased that the United Church of Christ, at every level, will be encouraged to expand the discussion of end-of-life issues and consider physician aid in dying in the very limited circumstances we have described. This gives us a way of moving ahead with a religious and moral dialogue."

* * *

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Substance & Forum" Website Unveiled

Steven Ledgerwood, Esq., recently posted a message on a listserv of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel regarding a newly-announced website named Substance & Forum, with the byline "A Meeting of Elite Tax Minds".

For those who're interested, Substance & Forum is a new website for publishing and accessing free articles authored by prominent tax and estate planning professionals. * * *

Several names you'll immediately recognize have already published articles there.
Steve then invited contributions:
You may republish articles you've authored and allowed others to publish (e.g., in Tax Notes or one of the WGL Journals), if you haven't assigned the copyright or otherwise agreed to restrict your publication rights.
I had conferred with Steve in November, 2006, about this proposed site, when it was still in early development. He invited me to test it as a reference & resource-sharing vehicle, using posted articles & participant forums.

I had logged in numerous times. I was impressed with the site -- even then, in its "beta" form -- with its classy appearance, ease of use, and focus on sophisticated tax issues. Now the site is even more polished.

Steve holds high expectations for productive communications on the site:
Our private, interactive forums also provide members an unparalleled opportunity to:
  • exchange ideas and brainstorm with many of the best tax, financial and legal minds in the US
  • expand professional networks and leverage expertise across time zones and geographic boundaries
  • access expertise from many organizations and related disciplines
  • locate specialty expertise and assemble project teams more efficiently
Now the site needs broad, active participation. Thus, Steve issued his invitation. When I asked whether I could make a posting about the new website, Steve responded: "Absolutely, thanks for helping me get the word out!"

Presently, the website can accept new participants, as follows:

Membership is open and free to all lawyers who are listed in The Best Lawyers in America® under Tax Law or Trusts & Estates and to all ACTEC® Fellows. If you qualify, please register here.

All other memberships are by invitation only.

To request information about publishing an article on our home page or receiving an invitation to join the community, please contact us at
If you are interested in exploring or utilizing this new website, follow these access instructions provided by Steve in a second email message:
Please go to the home page, then try the following:

1. In the third paragraph of the "Welcome to Substance & Forum" text, click on the "Register Here" link;

2. On the terms and conditions page, check the box to agree, then click on the "Register" button;

3. On the registration form, fill in the name, password, email, and security code fields, then click on the "Submit my Registration" button.

You'll then see a message that your registration was successful and will be reviewed by an administrator (this is to prevent entry by unauthorized registrants).

If you have any trouble, please feel free to call me.

-- Steven Ledgerwood (; Ofc: 405-701-2846).

Best of luck to Steve & to all participants in this innovative online resource!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

PA Guardianship References Online

I performed pro bono online research for the Dauphin County Court Administrator's Office regarding a pilot program initiated by the Orphans' Court Division, of the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, PA, in monitoring guardianships. I sought reliable resources, available publicly online, regarding both "guardianship" proceedings and "incapacitated persons" under Pennsylvania law.

I share these online references as a basic source of laws, rules, and forms on these topics.

Each judicial district in Pennsylvania can provide for additional local rules under PA Supreme Court Orphans' Court Rule 14 regarding "Incompetents' Estates"; and many have done so.

Thus, local rules regarding guardianship proceedings and incapacitated persons must always be checked regarding issues of required consent, service (notice), hearing & testimony, inventory, or related matters.

Yet a declaration of partial or full incapacity of an individual, and the appointment of a guardian -- either for the "person" or for the "estate", or possibly for both -- are only the beginning. Then comes the ongoing personal decision-making or the administration of funds, while the court always retains jurisdiction for review, if necessary.

Update: 11/16/11:

I updated the links, many of which had changed since the original posting.  For developments or discussions regarding guardianship, see: PA EE&F Law Blog topic "Guardianship".

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

PA Behavioral Health & Aging Website

The Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition has created a new website for the benefit of its members & the public. It may be accessed online here.

Admittedly, the website presently has very limited offerings -- just a home page with a mission statement, and an email listserv sign-up. But I expect that this new website will grow into a great resource and become a clear expression of the interests & advocacy of the Coalition's members.

This is the mission statement of PA BH&AC:

The Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition was formed in 1999 as a statewide coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the unmet mental health and substance abuse needs of older adults across the Commonwealth.

As a coalition, regional groups representing Northeast, Northwest, Central, Southeast and Southwest work together on local and statewide levels in order to collaboratively address the mental health/substance abuse needs of older adults.

Our mission is to advocate expansion, improvement, and development of affordable, appropriate, and accessible behavioral health prevention and treatment services for older Pennsylvanians.
The National Coalition on Mental Health & Aging includes the PA BH&AC as a member, among other statewide & national organizations.

Linda Schumaker is the Executive Director of
PA BH&AC, who also supervises PA MBHAC's email alerts for news relevant to its members. Linda is a Registered Nurse who works in the Department of Psychiatry, of the Penn State College of Medicine, in Hershey, PA, and also for Pinnacle Health System. Her contact information is: Rutherford House, 3300 Parkview Lane, Harrisburg, PA 17111 (Phone: 717-564-5010; Email:

PSU (by the way) maintains its own excellent website regarding mental health concerns in the aging process. See:
Mental Health & Aging.

Other components of, & coordinators for, PA BH&AC, as listed in the most recent brochure about the organization, include:
  • Central Regional Coalition -- Jill Buhrman
    Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging
    2 South Second Street, Third Floor
    Harrisburg, PA 17101
    Phone: 717-780-6180
    Fax: 717-255-2792
  • Southeast Regional Coalition -- Susan Saler
    Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania
    1211 Chestnut Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19107
    Phone: 215-751-1800 Ext. 297; Fax: 215-636-6300
  • Northeast Region Coalition -- Karen Leonovich
    Aging Care Management Supervisor II
    Columbia Montour Aging Office, Inc
    702 Sawmill Road, Suite 201
    Bloomsburg, PA 17815
    Phone: (570) 784-9272; Fax: 570-784-3678
  • Northwest Region Coalition --Rochelle Youkers
    Stairways Behavioral Health
    810 Walnut Street
    Erie, PA 16502
    Phone: 814 - 878-2169; Fax (814) 878-2150
  • Southwest Regional Coalition -- Heather Sedlacko
    Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging (SWPPA)
    201 Smith Drive, Suite 2D, 6
    Cranberry Township, PA 1606
    Phone: 724-779-3200; Fax: 724-779-2131
I know a bit about PA BH&AC, because I had met with some members of its Central Region on May 18, 2007, for two hours, when I discussed with them "New PA Laws Affecting Older Adults". They are a dedicated & inquiring group.

Although in its infancy, the PA BH&AC website hopefully will grow into a valuable resource, given the members who already participate in the organization. For an example of the content & links that such a website might someday display, see the website of another state's similar organization, the Iowa Coalition on Mental Health & Aging.

If you are interested in the combination of issues of mental health and aging, you should sign up for the email alerts already provided by Linda. You can do so using the new website here.

Update: 06/26/07:

Linda Schumaker sent me an email today, in which she provided updated & more detailed contacts for the regional components of PA BH&AC, which have been incorporated above.

Updated: 05/27/08:

The new contact information for PA BH&AC is:
Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition
525 South 29th Street

Harrisburg, 17104

Ph: 717 541-4219

Fax: 717 541-4217

Monday, June 25, 2007

Warning: IRC Section 6694 Amended!

Robert B. Wolf, Esq., of Tener, Van Kirk, Wolf & Moore, P.C., periodically issues his "P & T Hot Tips" to an email list. His message on June 24, 2007, related to the recent amendment by Congress of Section 6694 of the Internal Revenue Code that now affects all preparers of federally-filed tax returns. He highlights an important change.

This change was also noted on the CPA Success Blog, maintained for the Maryland Association of CPAs, in an entry dated June 11, 2007, entitled "Relief granted for 'more-likely-than-not' effective date":

Part of a larger Iraq war funding bill, the tax act includes a revision of section 6694 of the Internal Revenue Code. The revision stipulated that the more-likely-than-not provision was to have been effective for returns prepared after the date of enactment, which was May 25, 2007.

The AICPA had claimed that the transitional relief was “urgent” in order to “avoid extreme inequity, uncertainty and administrative burden.” The AICPA's request also cited the “impending June 15 filing deadline for certain fiscal year filers and the lead time needed for e-filing.”

The "transitional relief" requested by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) was announced by the IRS on June 11, 2007, in its Press Release entitled "Transitional Penalty Relief Provided to Tax Return Preparers":

The Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department today released Notice 2007-54, providing guidance and transitional relief for the return preparer penalty provisions amended by the Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007. The new amendments are effective for returns prepared after May 25, 2007.

The new law amended several provisions of the Internal Revenue Code to extend the return preparer penalties under section 6694 to preparers of all tax returns, including estate and gift tax returns, employment tax returns, and excise tax returns. Prior to the new law, these penalties applied only to the preparers of income tax returns. The new law also increased the amount of the penalties and changed the standards of conduct that must be met by return preparers in order to avoid penalties under section 6694.

The transitional relief provided by Notice 2007-54 will apply to all returns, amended returns and refund claims due on or before December 31, 2007, including those returns, amended returns and refund claims filed pursuant to extensions to file due on or before December 31, 2007; to 2007 estimated tax returns due on or before January 15, 2008; and to 2007 employment and excise tax returns due on or before January 31, 2008.

Bob's Wolf's brief commentary -- and his warning -- follow.

Section 6694 of the IRC was amended as part of the Iraq Appropriations Bill to revise and raise the standards for tax preparers and those who provide advice, the result of which ends up on a return (that means us estate and tax planners I think).

It extends the penalties to estate and gift tax returns and, with some transitional relief of 2007 (not much) requires that tax preparer must have " a reasonable belief that the position would more likely than not be sustained on its merits".

If disclosure of the facts is made on the return, the bar is somewhat lower: the penalty is not imposed if there is a reasonable basis for the position (perhaps one in three as the standard was prior to the Act).

Those are tough standards, and without getting into further details, are tougher than the standards for the taxpayer him or herself. And it may apply to those who supply advice even if they are not signing the returns.

Note also this is tougher than section 10.34 of Circular 230 which allows a practitioner to take a position on a return if it is not frivolous as long as disclosure is made.

This sort of makes us into meteorologists in determining the chances a position is substantively correct. And the penalties are not $250 anymore, but up to the "gross income" from the "conduct".

The worst part of it may be that the imposition and determinations are all in the discretion of the IRS. Pretty tough!

It looks the rights of taxpayers to tax advice and counsel are a lot less than the rights of other litigants. Imagine those standards in a civil or a criminal case context!

Be careful out there. The new rules underscore the risks we take as preparers and advisors. We are at significant risk if we advise a position that doesn't have a good fighting chance!

If you would like to receive Bob's "P&T Hot Tips" directly (& free), contact him at: His further contact information is: 920 Oliver Building, 535 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (Ofc: 412-281-5580; Fax: 412-281-6115). I am certain that he would add you to his mailing list if you make a request.

Update: 07/02/08:

On June 19, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and notice of public hearing regarding
Tax Return Preparer Penalties under Sections 6694 and 6695 (PDF, 218 pages). For background and links, see: EE&F Law Blog post "IRS Proposes Final Preparer Penalty Regs" (07/02/08), as further updated.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Academic Action at Allegheny College

I began writing this blog for law students taking my "Elder Law" course at Widener Law School (Harrisburg Campus), but continued it for a broader audience of professionals & consumers.

Today's posting -- about academic standards & their enforcement through a code of conduct -- is intended for law students.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its opinion & order in Reardon v. Allegheny College (PDF, 22 pages) on June 1, 2007, reviewing discipline applied in an academic program against a student accused of plagiarism.

The trial court [Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas] concluded Allegheny [College] faithfully adhered to its internal procedure in adjudicating the plagiarism charge.

First, a panel of the Honors Committee was convened and it determined there was a reasonable likelihood that appellant had violated the Honor Code, thereby warranting further action.

Next, the College Judicial Board (CJB) conducted a lengthy adjudicatory hearing wherein appellant was given the opportunity to present evidence and confront the witnesses offered against her. The CJB found appellant guilty of plagiarism and imposed a failing grade for the biology lab course; stripped appellant of her Latin Honors; ordered appellant to complete community service; and placed appellant on academic probation for the duration of her academic career at Allegheny.

Appellant then was afforded the opportunity, as of right, to appeal to the school’s President who affirmed the findings and disposition of the CJB. * * * [Opinion, p. 2]
The student disagreed with this disposition. On April 7, 2006, she filed a written complaint with the trial court raising claims for breach of contract against Allegheny College & the professor teaching the class.

She also made claims for
defamation against Allegheny College, the professor, and one student assigned to work with her on the common project in which plagiarism was determined.

She also pursued claims for the
intentional infliction of emotional distress against the College, the professor, that one student, and another student also working on the project.

The trial court dismissed all claims on the defendants' motion for summary judgment (in the form of a legal "demurrer").

The PA Supreme Court affirmed the trial court on its determination of all issues, and wrote an extensive opinion reviewing applicable law in Pennsylvania.

This case should be read by all law students in Pennsylvania, since its principles affect their responsibilities under honor codes contracted to govern their academic conduct after admission into programs of an educational institution.

Again, the case can be read online

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How To . . . Steal an Estate?

On June 19, 2007, on the relatively new Connecticut Elder Law Blog, attorney Michael J. Keenan, of Keenan Law, LLC, in Glastonbury, CT, noted, in his posting entitled "A Very Scary Blog for Elders", another new website called Steal an Estate.

In alarm, he quoted its June 15th posting:

The June 15th post is a very long and comprehensive "how to" list of instructions on how to financially swindle the elderly, and if you're an elderly person or have elderly parents living alone in the community, it's a downright terrifying read.

When I first read it I was outraged because it reads like an advertisement to encourage financial predators. But when you click "about Steal an Estate" in the upper right-hand column you will see that the purpose of the post is to educate readers on the types of strategies a skilled predator will employ against the elderly.
Similarly, my initial reaction to the Steal an Estate website was disgust, even horror, at the seemingly promotional phrases (copied in the graphic above):
  • Get Rich! On Other People's Money!
  • Displace Rightful Heirs Legally!
  • Never Have To Work Again!
Michael concluded that the website really is a parody with a message: Predators prey deliberately & selfishly on the elderly for financial gain.

That site's author confirms his motives -- to illuminate elder exploitation. He explains his intention to prevent abuse through education:

Steal an discloses the secrets, strategies and malicious manipulations skilled con artists use to steal elderly people’s estates from their rightful heirs. Sadly, many of their tactics are hard to prove.

You may find yourself cut off, disinherited and disowned by people you love and have loved all your life for no apparent reason.

Organized crime rings are perpetrating some large estate thefts.

These criminals use sophisticated mental manipulation techniques developed by the military to poison and redirect elderly people’s minds, feelings and intentions. It is surprisingly easy to do. We explain how they do it. * * *

The thieves come disguised as helpful neighbors, caring live ins and even your own siblings. They are focused, skilled and well organized. * * *

This information is provided to help protect others from the crimes we experienced.

Michael's concern for his elderly clients, and the underlying concern of the author of the Steal an Estate website, are grounded in a reality identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA).

NCEA advocates -- in a conventional way -- for education, investigation, & prosecution related to elder abuse. NCEA also maintains the pre-eminent online "
gateway to resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation", originates email alerts to an open mailing list, and maintains a monitored listserv for exchange of information & ideas.
NCEA is a national resource for elder rights, law enforcement and legal professionals, public policy leaders, researchers, and the public. The Center’s mission is to promote understanding, knowledge sharing, and action on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The NCEA is administered under the auspices of the National Association of State Units on Aging.

With partners at the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Law and Aging, Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly at the University of Delaware, National Adult Protective Services Association, and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, NCEA carries out a broad range of activities.
On the other hand, the unconventional Steal an Estate approach shocks to achieve its professed objective. I doubt that this approach will be an effective preventative.

Instead, I think that the website will do more in instructing "how to" accomplish elder exploitation effectively, than in dissuading a potential abuser from embarking upon it.

I would compare such elder exploitation advice to the "bomb making" websites available in the 1990s that, regardless of their motives, contributed to death & destruction in America.
See: 1997 Report on the Availability of Bombmaking Information", posted by the United States Department of Justice.

Such activity should not be protected by "free speech" principles, according to the 1997 Report:
The First Amendment would impose substantial constraints on any attempt to proscribe indiscriminately the dissemination of bombmaking information. The government generally may not, except in rare circumstances, punish persons either for advocating lawless action or for disseminating truthful information -- including information that would be dangerous if used -- that such persons have obtained lawfully.

However, the constitutional analysis is quite different where the government punishes speech that is an integral part of a transaction involving conduct the government otherwise is empowered to prohibit; such "speech acts" -- for instance, many cases of inchoate crimes such as aiding and abetting and conspiracy -- may be proscribed without much, if any, concern about the First Amendment, since it is merely incidental that such "conduct" takes the form of speech.
I favor fighting against elder exploitation directly & forcefully, not by innuendo, implication, or indirect means.

So, I admire the forthright efforts extended to combat elder abuse & exploitation in Pennsylvania by organizations such as the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania's Elder Abuse Unit, the Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Protective Services for Older Adults Program, Temple University's Institute on Protective Services, and the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly in Philadelphia, among many, many others.

I believe that the approach of Steal an Estate will do more harm than good. I urge its author to remove the website, and spread the message by more constructive methods.

Update: 06/25/07:

Subsequent to this posting, the author(s) of the
Steal an Estate website sent me three email messages, from different addresses, anonymously arguing their motivation in framing their website in that manner.

They also posted a rebuttal to my comments on their website. But I will not argue publicly with someone who withholds their identity; and so I will say no more. I still believe that this website, in its original configuration, will do more harm than good.

I would also urge the website's author(s) -- if any attorneys are involved -- to consider this report, dated June 23, 2007, entitled "
Pa. law firm's immigration talk hits YouTube; U.S. senator demands investigation", an Associated Press article posted by the Arizona Star.

It reports criticism at the federal level of a video alleged to educate about circumvention of U.S. immigration laws. Read it yourself, and consider if it might apply to this situation.

Update: 09/03/08:

For other websites that advocate against financial exploitation & physical abuse of elders in families, based upon the authors' personal experience,
see: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Elder Abuse" Websites Warn Personally (09/03/08).

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in PA Someday?

Online access to drafts of "Uniform Laws" was the subject of a posting made on June 15, 2007, on the Wyoming Law Library Newsletter, entitled "Electronic Access to the Uniform" Laws. It noted:

The Biddle Law Library at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in partnership with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws recently announced access to electronic versions of draft and final acts of Uniform Laws and Final Acts.
Various proposed "Uniform Laws" are the product of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), which holds a mission "to research, draft and promote enactment of uniform state laws in areas where uniformity is desirable and practical."

The organization is described on its website as follows:
[NCCUSL], now 115 years old, provides states with non-partisan, well-conceived and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of the law. NCCUSL’s work supports the federal system and facilitates the movement of individuals and the business of organizations with rules that are consistent from state to state.
News about NCCUSL is found online at its "Newsroom", which offers Press Releases, a News Archive, various Memos/Articles on specific uniform law issues, and downloadable Newsletters.

But NCCUSL's draft & final versions of proposed uniform laws are maintained at a different website -- one administered here in Pennsylvania, by the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

One of the uniform laws recently offered by NCCUSL to the states is the
Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA), described in NCCUSL's Press Release dated July 13, 2006 [links added]:
[The revised UAGA] is designed to increase the number of organs available for transplant and improve the system for allocating organs to recipients, [and] has been endorsed by the American Medical Association (AMA). The new UAGA has already been introduced in 11 states; more than 25 introductions are expected this year. * * *
A January 31, 2007, NCCUSL Press Release provided further background [links added]:
The AMA joins the United Network for Organ Sharing, the National Kidney Foundation, the Eye Bank Association of America, the American Association of Tissue Banks, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Cornea Society, and the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations in endorsing the new UAGA.

The new Act makes it easier to document the desire to donate, particularly as provided on drivers’ licenses; specifies an expanded list of persons who may make an anatomical gift on behalf of the deceased, such as agents with healthcare power-of-attorney, adult grandchildren or close friends; more clearly provides for a document of refusal if an individual does not wish to donate; allows for registering gifts on existing donor registries; and encourages the creation of donor registries, whether by states or by other entities.
On February 12, 2007, the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates approved NCCUSL's new UAGA.

The revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act is ripe for consideration in Pennsylvania, where there continues to be a need, presently addressed under PA's enactment of a prior version of the UAGA. See: "Organ Donation in Pennsylvania" (PA EE&F Law Blog, 06/14/07).

Two other uniform laws -- both also adopted by NCCUSL on that same day (July 13, 2006) -- may bear some scrutiny, too, in a review of Pennsylvania's existing laws on these topics:
  • The Uniform Power of Attorney Act provides a simple way for people to deal with their property by providing a power of attorney that survives the incapacity of the principal and thus avoids the need to bring expensive and time-consuming guardianship or conservatorship actions to care for assets. While the act is primarily a set of default rules that can be altered by specific provisions within a power of attorney, the act also contains safeguards for the protection of an incapacitated principal. This act requires certain powers to be expressly and specifically conferred, eliminating questions about the agent’s authority. This act has also been endorsed by the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.
  • The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, like its predecessor, the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act, provides statutory guidelines for management, investment, and expenditures of funds held by charitable institutions. The new act expressly provides for diversification of assets, pooling of assets, and total return investment, to implement whole portfolio management, bringing the law governing charitable institutions in line with modern investment and expenditure practice. This act has also been endorsed by the ABA Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section.

Development of laws in Pennsylvania should take into account -- although not necessarily adopt by rote -- the provisions of such nationally-developed proposals.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Philly Rocks Stay Home. Paintings Too?

In a previous posting, I observed that departure of an elderly person from home upon entry into a residential care facility is a tremendous dislocation involving irrevocable personal loss. With the decrease in independence and the increase in dependence upon others, ill-health & depression often follow. See: How Does It Feel . . . With No Direction Home? (10/20/06).

How does it feel? How does it feel?
To be without a home,
Like a complete unknown,
Like a rolling stone?

-- Bob Dylan, "Like a Rolling Stone"

Nationally, the trend is changing to favor retention of seniors' homes and to facilitate their continued residence at home by innovative, efficient means.

Has Pennsylvania similarly disfavored retention of the original, individual "homes" established for artifact collections created here?

In analogizing to home care for individuals, I ask in another way:
Has Pennsylvania -- a state blessed with priceless treasured items in collections created here by Pennsylvanians -- similarly favored relocation of such collections away from their homes based upon the financial needs of their charitable owners, rather than the retention & maintenance of such collections in their already-established "homes" by innovative means and with devoted caretakers?
The City of Philadelphia believes in retaining valuable artwork & collections having their "home" there.

In a frenzy of negotiation & fund-raising, Philadelphians determined to prevent the sale of Thomas Eakin's magnificent painting,
"The Gross Clinic", by its owner, Thomas Jefferson University, to a Wal-Mark heiress. In December, 2006, a Philadelphia consortium was successful in making a counteroffer, thereby preventing the anticipated relocation of that painting out-of-state. See: Fiduciary Duties When Art Is "For Sale" (12/26/06).

When the announcement was made by TJU officials, it included this statement: "In addition to fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility, we gave the local cultural institutions the opportunity to keep the painting."

Just last week, the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia announced in a Press Release, dated June 15, 2007, entitled "Academy vows to retain mineral collection", that "[t]he Academy of Natural Sciences has no intention of giving up its historic William S. Vaux mineral collection."
President and CEO Dr. William Y. Brown, in an affidavit signed today in the Orphans’ Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas, makes those intentions crystal clear. According to Brown’s testimony, if the proposed sale of the 7,300-piece collection is not approved by the court, the Academy is “prepared to keep and properly care for the collection.”

In preparation, the Academy has developed a multi-year plan that addresses the measures taken to ensure the collection is in top condition. * * *

"The Academy looks forward to caring for the Vaux Collection and providing access to it along with the earliest minerals collected in the Americas by the Lewis & Clark expedition and others," said Brown.

“The vast and seminal collections of the Academy, including these, date from the dawn of science in this hemisphere. We have no higher priority than their stewardship.”

For newspaper reports regarding this development in the maintenance of the Vaux Collection and the proceeding before the Orphans' Court Division, of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, PA, see: "Academy will not sell historic mineral collection", published on June 16, 2007, by The Associated Press, and posted online by PennLive.
The Academy of Natural Sciences has abandoned a controversial plan to sell a historic mineral collection. Academy president William Y. Brown signed an affidavit Friday saying the institution "is prepared to keep and properly care for the collection." * * *

The proposed sale of the William S. Vaux collection generated months of debate among local advocates and in the national mineralogic community when it was announced last year. Some felt it would be close to sacrilege to sell the 7,300-piece collection, which probably would have led to its being broken up. It was amassed in the 1800s, when Philadelphia was considered a cradle of mineralogy.
* * *

But court approval was needed for the sale because Vaux, a Victorian gentleman and academy officer, had specified in his bequest to the institution that the minerals remain on view there. That bequest already had been violated, since the collection had for years been locked away, unavailable for either display or study. With no full-time curator, some specimens had deteriorated. Some had been pilfered.

Vaux's great-great-niece, Trina Vaux of Bryn Mawr, who opposed the sale, submitted a plan at a court hearing last spring to have Bryn Mawr College and the Wagner Free Institute of Science take the collection. With no money to be made in such a transfer, and indications that the court would rule against the sale, the academy decided to have Brown sign the affidavit, which is expected to be filed Monday in Orphans' Court. * * *
See also: "Local Museum Decides Not to Sell Collection", posted by KYW News on June 16, 2007; and "Rock on: Academy won't sell collection", by Sandy Bauers, published on June 16, 2007, in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

[Academy President William Y.] Brown took over the presidency in February and seemed to be a clear advocate for the collections.

"I feel very strongly that the Academy of Natural Sciences needs to, in general, stand ready to care for its entire collection," he said yesterday. "I think that's expected of us by the people of Philadelphia and people throughout the world that know the academy."

Consider now the attempt by the Commissioners of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on behalf of their residents, to maintain the home of the Barnes Foundation's $30 billion collection of artwork in Lower Merion Township, as opposed to its planned move to a location within the city limits of Philadelphia.

If it could be feasible, with some innovative arrangements, for the Barnes Museum to remain where it is -- in Lower Merion Township, Montgomery County, PA -- as contemplated by its founder, should it be allowed to stay in its home too?

Such an effort is underway. See:
Next Round for the Barnes Foundation (06/11/07).

"There's no place like home. There's no place like home!"

-- Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), wishing to return to Kansas
while wearing the ruby slippers, in the Wizard of Oz (1939).

Monday, June 18, 2007

PBA's Annual Meeting: Bring Books

The Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association will present continuing legal education sessions during its Annual Section Retreat, to be held on June 20 (Wed) & 21 (Thu), 2007, in Philadelphia, during the PBA's Annual Meeting. The RPPT Section's Annual Meeting Brochure sets forth all the details of the sessions, to be held at the Sheriton Philadelphia City Center Hotel.

These are the continuing legal education sessions that the Probate & Trust Law Divisions will present on Wednesday, June 20, 2007:

  • “Recent Developments in Real Property & Probate Law”, by Kirby G. Upright, Esq., of King Spry Herman Freund & Faul L.L.C., Bethlehem, PA, and Vincent B. Mancini, Esq., of Vincent B. Mancini & Associates, Media, PA
    • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
    • This session will provide an overview of recent case law, legislative developments and issues in Estate Law and Real Property over the last 12 months.
  • Practical Points Under Act 169, by Neil E. Hendershot, Esq., of Goldberg Katzman, P.C., Harrisburg, PA
    • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    • Hear about cutting-edge issues that can affect us all — especially Act 169’s effect on your practice. This session will give you a complete review of applicable case law and detailed answers to questions posed about Act 169.
  • “Orphans’ Court Update”, by Mary Jane Barrett, Esq., of Harkins and Harkins, Philadelphia, PA, and Dean R. Phillips, Esq., of Elliott Greenleaf & Siedzikowski P.C., Blue Bell, PA
    • 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
    • This session will discuss the status of several important projects including: (1) the statewide forms project that would allow online completion of commonly used forms before the Registers of Wills and Orphans’ Court Divisions; (2) foreign adoption registration procedures; (3) Orphans’ Court practice following abrogation of equity rules; and (4) updates to model accounting forms, including introduction of a new unitrust accounting model. The panel will seek feedback from attendees on how the statewide Orphans’ Court Procedural Rules are working in practice and suggested areas of improvement.
  • “Ethical Issues in Real Estate & Probate Law” by Samuel C. Stretton, Esq., of the Law Office of Samuel C. Stretton, West Chester, PA
    • 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
    • This session will discuss current developments and topical issues relating to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
An additional CLE session, which would apply to elder persons' dispute resolution processes, will be presented on Thursday, June 21, 2007:
  • “Mediation/Arbitration: When to Use It and When Not To”, by Lawrence C. Norford, Esq., of Saul Ewing L.L.P., Philadelphia, PA, William Charles Mackrides, Esq., of Mackrides Associates, Media, PA, and James A. Rosenstein, Esq., of Rosenstein & Associates, Philadelphia, PA.
    • 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
    • This roundtable will discuss using alternative dispute resolution in Real Estate and Estates. Join our facultyas they share practical tips to guide you in choosing the best method to resolve disputes in your practice.
At these educational sessions, books comprised of the subject's materials will be presented to attendees.

So why do I suggest that attendees "Bring Books" to the sessions? The reason is explained in the graphic at the beginning of this posting regarding a program initiated by the PBA's Government Law Section.

All PBA members who attend the Annual Meeting are requested to bring & donate books in "new or gently used" condition, for distribution by the PBA for use by other children (infants through third grade).

That is a worthwhile project meriting participation by those who have the goods to give.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Governor's Disabilities Advisory Cte Seeks Members

On June 14, 2007, an email message with the header "Applications Being Accepted for Governor's Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities" was circulated by the PA Department of Public Welfare, seeking applications for that advisory committee by June 27, 2007.

Governor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities was recently created by Executive Order No. 2006-09, issued November 21, 2006, by Governor Edward G. Rendell. A copy of the Executive Order is available in PDF format (3 pages) here. DPW is charged with obtaining members of the Committee, derived from applicants with suitable interest & qualifications.

This is the invitation contained in the email message:

Applications are now being accepted for participation on the Governor's Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities.

Background information about the Governor's Advisory Committee and how to apply are in the attached document.

Please distribute this information broadly to your networks so that people interested have opportunity to apply. Thank you.

-- Ginny Rogers, Executive Policy Specialist, PA Department of Public Welfare, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2675, 717-346-4481;
Disabilities are often the reason that fiduciaries must manage assets for others, or that substituted decision-makers must make personal decisions for others. Therefore, this invitation for such service to the Commonwealth may be of interest to readers of this Blog.

Following in full length is the attachment to that email message. Respond if you feel a calling.

Request for Applications -- Governor's Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities

You are invited to apply for membership to the Governor's Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities.

Background information regarding the committee and information on how to apply is provided for your information below.

Description of Advisory Committee

The Governor's Cabinet and Advisory Committee on People with Disabilities were created by Executive Order in November 2006.
  • The Cabinet is made up of 14 heads of state agencies and other senior officials with an interest in issues affecting people with disabilities. It is charged with making recommendations to the Governor and other duties.
  • The Advisory Committee is made up of people appointed by the Governor including people within existing stakeholder groups. At least 60 percent must be people with disabilities or family members of people with disabilities. The Advisory Committee will provide input and recommendations to the Cabinet.
Advisory Committee Responsibilities
  • Make recommendations to the Governor's Cabinet on policies, procedures, regulations and legislation that affect people with disabilities in Pennsylvania
  • Serve as the Governor's liaison to people with disabilities on policies, procedures, regulations, and legislation that affect people with disabilities in order to ensure that State Government is accessible, accountable and responsive to people with disabilities
  • Serve as resource to all departments, commissions and agencies under the Governor's jurisdiction to ensure that government entities are aware of the needs of people with disabilities and to ensure the respective agencies' programs and services are accessible to people with disabilities
  • Focus on cross-disability issues and on helping to ensure that people of all ages, with cross-program needs will be served, regardless of what agency they access and what funding streams are needed. Stakeholders will inform the process and will also help to communicate progress to their local and statewide colleagues and counterparts
Membership Application Form

Please provide the following information:
1. A cover letter stating why you are qualified to serve as a member of the Governor's Advisory Committee and what you will bring to the table - resumes are also welcome with the cover letter.

2. Contact information shall include:
A. E mail Address
B. Phone numbers (Home, business or cell)
C. Mailing address

3. Two recommendations from another person or an agency that can explain how you are qualified to serve as a member of the Advisory Committee

4. Whether you are a person with a disability, represent an advocacy agency, or a family member of a person with a disability

5. Name(s) of organization(s), advisory councils, and/or groups of people you will represent

6. Your commitment to regularly share information to those organizations

7. Your commitment to regularly attend the scheduled meetings, as well as any sub-committee meetings, to review and comment on materials, and to participate between meetings, as needed
Travel reimbursements may be available for people with disabilities and family members if necessary for active participation.

Please submit your applications to Ginny Rogers (, or send your applications to Ginny Rogers, PA Department of Public Welfare, P.O. Box 2675, Harrisburg, Pa. 17105-2675.

Applications for consideration will be received until Wednesday June 27, 2007.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Organ Donation in Pennsylvania

Several years ago, I promised Peter C. Wolk, Esq. -- a brilliant & patient man -- that I would try to arrange posting of his excellent article entitled "How Lawyers Can Assist Their Clients with Respect to Organ Donation" on the website of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Unfortunately, that never happened; but I post it now on this Blog to fulfill my promise.

His article was printed in the Winter, 2005 issue of the Newsletter of the PBA's Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section. And forms of his article were posted on the websites of other bar associations, such as the Washington State Bar Association, through its Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section, as indicated here:
We have posted a short article on How to Become an Organ and Tissue Donor in Washington that provides useful information for both attorneys and their clients. This article contains links to form donor cards, information on the types of tissue and organs that can be donated, and other sites on the internet that provide useful information on organ donations.

A second piece, How Lawyers Can Assist Their Clients with Respect to Organ Donation provides practitioners with three simple questions we can ask our clients to see if they would like to participate in an organ donation program.
At the time of our discussions, Peter had graduated cum laude from American University Law School, held a Masters Degree from Harvard University, and was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Trinity College (CT); and he had embarked on a lawyer education outreach project for the U.S. Division of Transplantation about organ donation.

Since then (according to a
presentation announcement dated September, 2006), it appears that Peter founded, and now serves as the Executive Director of, the National Center for Nonprofit Law, in Washington, D.C., and authored a book, The Art of Creating Nonprofit Organizations.

Organ donation remains an important topic for Pennsylvanians. Lawyers have a role in raising the topic with clients during discussions on personal & estate planning matters. And the public deserves simple answers to questions about organ donation.

So, I provide needed information, and I fulfill my promise (in a fashion), by posting his article here, updated by me with current links to resources. Its copyright remains in Mr. Wolk.

How Lawyers Can Assist Their Clients with Respect to Organ Donation

A major cause of the shortage of organs is that regardless of a decedent's wishes, virtually no surgeon will take organs or tissue without permission from the family. Regrettably, family members often withhold authorization because they are unaware the decedent wished to donate organs and tissues, thereby frustrating organ donors' wishes.

In fact, a national study conducted by Gallup indicates that when family members know of their loved one's wishes, 94% will honor the request. But, when family members do not know, only 54% will donate the relative's organs. Indeed, of all the causes for organs being unavailable from people who wanted to be donors, 37% are lost due to the family's refusal to consent. Those lost organs (from people who wanted to be organ donors!) could save many lives.

Attorneys are uniquely positioned to help by asking clients during estate planning and Will intake sessions if they want to be organ donors and if they have told their family. (Whether someone decides to be or not to be an organ donor is a personal decision that is respected; the purpose here is to ensure that people who want to make anatomical gifts do not have their wishes thwarted.) Sharing the decision to be an organ donor also has the effect of sparing surviving family members from the difficulty of having to make a burdensome, personal decision at an emotional time.

The American Bar Association supports more client education about organ donation issues:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges all attorneys to raise with their clients, when appropriate, the topic of organ and tissue donations and to provide donation forms to those clients who indicate an interest in making a donation.

See: Summary of Action of the House of Delegates, American Bar Association 1992 Mid-Year Meeting, Dallas, Texas, p. 30 (February 3-4, 1992). (Full text of the Resolutions and additional organ donor information is printed in the ABA pamphlet: "A Legacy for Life" (free on the ABA website; $12/100 pamphlets in print). [See: Reposting of this pamphlet on the ACTEC website here.]

As a lawyer, you can help by asking your clients the following questions during Will intake interviews:

1. Do you wish to be an organ and tissue donor?

Self -------> Yes ____ No ____

Spouse --> Yes ____ No ____

2. If yes, have you signed an organ donor card or indicated on your driver's license your intent to be an organ and tissue donor?

Self -------> Yes ____ No ____

Spouse --> Yes ____ No ____

3. Have you told your family about your intention to be an organ and tissue donor?

Self -------> Yes ____ No ____

Spouse --> Yes ____ No ____

What People Should Know About Organ and Tissue Donation in Pennsylvania

If you wish to be an organ and tissue donor, all you have to do is say yes to organ and tissue donation on your donor card and/or driver's license and discuss your decision with your family.

Nationally, about 63 people receive an organ transplant every day, but another 15 people on the waiting list die because not enough organs are available. In Pennsylvania alone, 478 people died [in 2003] waiting for an organ donation and 6,185 people are currently awaiting organ and tissue transplants.

One part of the problem is that some people who sign donation cards are not treated as donors.

Even if you've signed something, your family will likely be asked to give consent before donation can occur. Make sure that you talk to your family members about organ and tissue donation so they know your wishes!

One individual organ donor can save or improve the quality of life for more than 50 people who suffer from organ failure, congenital defects, bone cancer, orthopedic injuries, burns or blindness.

Who can become a donor?

All individuals can indicate their intent to donate (persons under 18 years of age must have parent's or guardian's consent). Medical suitability for donation is determined at the time of death. Are there age limits for donors?

There are no age limitations on who can donate. The deciding factor on whether a person can donate is the person’s physical condition, not the person’s age. Newborns as well as senior citizens have been organ donors. Persons under 18 years of age must have parent's or guardian's consent.

How do I express my wishes to become an organ and tissue donor?

  1. Indicate your intent to be an organ and tissue donor on your driver’s license.
  2. Carry an organ donor card.

If I sign a donor card or indicate my donation preferences on my driver’s license, will my wishes be carried out?

Even if you sign a donor card it is ESSENTIAL THAT YOUR FAMILY KNOWS your wishes. Your family may be asked to sign a consent form in order for your donation to occur.

If you wish to learn how organ donation preferences are documented and honored where you live, contact your local organ procurement organization (OPO). The OPO can advise you of specific local procedures, such as joining donor registries, that are available to residents in your area.

What can be donated?

  • Organs: heart, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, liver, and intestines
  • Tissue: cornea, skin, bone marrow, heart valves, and connective tissue
  • Bone marrow

If I sign a donor card, will it affect the quality of medical care I receive at the hospital?

No! Every effort is made to save your life before donation is considered.

Will donation disfigure my body? Can there be an open casket funeral?

Donation does not disfigure the body and does not interfere with having a funeral, including open casket services.

Why should minorities be particularly concerned about organ donation?

Some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas and liver are found more frequently in racial and ethnic minority populations than in the general population. Successful transplantation often is enhanced by the matching of organs between members of the same ethnic and racial group.

Are there any costs to my family for donation?

The donor’s family does NOT pay for the cost of the organ donation. All costs related to donation of organs and tissues are paid by the recipient, usually through insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.

Can I sell my organs?

No! The National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98-507) makes it ILLEGAL to sell human organs and tissues. Violators are subject to fines and imprisonment. Among the reasons for this rule is the concern of Congress that buying and selling of organs might lead to inequitable access to donor organs with the wealthy having an unfair advantage.

How are organs distributed?

Patients are matched to organs based on a number of factors including blood and tissue typing, medical urgency, time on the waiting list, and geographical location.

How many people are currently waiting for each organ to become available so they can have a transplant?

Click here for the most current data -> United Network for Organ Sharing.

Can I be an organ and tissue donor and also donate my body to medical science?

Total body donation is an option, but not if you choose to be an organ and tissue donor.

If you wish to donate your entire body, you should directly contact the facility of your choice to make arrangements. Medical schools, research facilities and other agencies need to study bodies to gain greater understanding of disease mechanisms in humans. This research is vital to saving and improving lives.

Where can I get additional information about organ and tissue donation?
  • Statistics and additional information about organ and tissue donation are available at: United Network for Organ Sharing, and the Division of Transplantation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Information on minorities and organ donation and transplantation is available at the website of the Minority Organ Tissue Transplantation Education Program.
  • Information about the American Bar Association’s efforts with regard to organ donation, and the ABA pamphlet entitled “A Legacy for Life” may be found here.
  • Information about local Organ Procurement Organizations and local activities and facts about organ donation may be found at: Organ Procurement Organizations (Organ procurement organizations coordinate activities relating to organ procurement in a designated service area. They evaluate potential donors, discuss donation with family members, and arrange for the surgical removal of donated organs. OPOs also are responsible for preserving organs and arranging for their distribution according to national organ sharing policies. There are currently 59 organ procurement organizations throughout the U.S.). The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is a private, nonprofit organization recognized as a national representative of organ procurement organizations.
  • Information about the Uniform Health- Care Decisions Act (UHCDA) (approved by the Uniform Law Commissioners in 1993) is available here.

Pennsylvania Organ Procurement Organizations

Pennsylvania Department of Health
1-800-PA HEALTH.

The Center for Organ Recovery & Education
(Western Pennsylvania)
204 Sigma Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Phone: (412) 963-3550 / (800) 366-6777

Gift of Life Donor Program
(Eastern Pennsylvania)
2000 Hamilton Street, Suite 201
Philadelphia, PA 19130-3813
Phone: (215) 557-8090 (610) 543-6391

Update: 06/20/07:

For a discussion about a revision to the underlying law previously enacted in Pennsylvania governing organ donations, see: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "Uniform Anatomical Gift Act in PA Someday?" (06/20/07).

Update: 09/11/08:

For consideration of organ donation from the viewpoints of various religions, see: PA EE&F Law Blog posting "
Religious Views on Organ Donation" (09/11/08).