Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Willed Body Program?
The Willed Body Program is a mechanism for individuals to donate their body for use in medical education and research in South Florida. The program is managed by the Anatomical Board of the State of Florida.
2. Can my body be donated if I have an infectious disease at the time of my death or die from a crushing injury?
No, the Anatomical Board cannot accept bodies of persons dying from crushing injuries, sepsis, or highly communicable diseases (such as hepatitis or AIDS).
3. How long would my remains be used for medical education and anatomical studies?
Medical education and anatomical studies may take up to two years to be completed.
4. What happens to my body after the medical studies are complete?
Upon completion of medical studies, the bodies are individually cremated remains and one of two options followed.
a) The cremated remains can be returned to the family or location selected by the family for final interment. The Anatomical Board will pay for shipping the cremated remains, but the cost of interment is the responsibility of the survivors.
b) The second option is for the Anatomical Board to take responsibility for handling the final disposition of the cremated remains by spreading them over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
5. How old do I have to be to donate my body?
Enrollment is open to anyone 18 years of age or older.
6. Can I donate someone else’s body, for example, that of my wife or husband?
This cannot be done while the donor is living unless you hold power-of-attorney. Documentation to this effect will be required. Otherwise, after the individual dies, the nearest living relative can donate the body by consent. The “Declaration of Consent” form is completed by the next of kin.
7. Can I change my mind after willing my body?
Yes, after willing their body to the State of Florida, an individual can change their mind and revoke their donation. The Anatomical Board respects and honors each individual that willingly donates their body.
8. If I move from the State of Florida, what happens to my donation?
If you move out of the state, please notify the Anatomical Board that you wish to withdraw your donation. We will assist you if you desire to contact a medical school in your new area of residence or you may check the list of other body donation programs.
9. What happens if I die outside of the State of Florida?
If death occurs outside the State of Florida, there are two options.
a) The Anatomical Board will assist the donor’s family in making arrangements to have the remains donated to the medical school nearest to the location of death, or the family may check the list of body donor programs for information on the nearest medical school.
b) If the next-of-kin insists that the body be returned to the Anatomical Board, the survivors must assume responsibility for the embalming and transportation costs. A funeral director in the area where the donor expired should be contacted. The funeral director can then contact the Anatomical Board for specific embalming instructions.
10. Will there be any expense to my family or estate for donating my body to the Anatomical Board?
The expenses that must be paid by the next-of-kin or estate of the deceased are all funeral home expenses, including the preliminary embalming and the transportation to the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Charges for these services are determined by individual funeral homes, crematories, or mortuaries. You may wish to discuss arrangements with more than one funeral director. A partial reimbursement by the Anatomical Board of trhe State of Florida is available. Information will be provided at the appropriate time.
Once we have received the remains, the Anatomical Board will assume costs for storage, cremation, and final disposition of the cremated remains.
11. Am I required to use a specific funeral home to make arrangements for the transportation and handling of my body?
At the time of death, the remains must be taken to a funeral home of the family’s choice. The funeral director should be told of the wishes of the deceased to have his or her body made available for us in medical education. The funeral director should be told to notify the Anatomical Board prior to transporting the body to Miami.