Since our federal laws changed in 2016 to permit medical assistance in dying (“MAiD”) in certain circumstances, many of our clients are interested to learn how MAiD impacts their future incapacity planning.
Future incapacity planning starts with obtaining advice from a lawyer on the “life tools” that capable individuals can put in place to help guide decisions that will be made with respect to their health and well-being when they need help and on their behalf, should they become incapable. One such “life tool” is a health representation agreement.
A health representation agreement is a legal document, often prepared by a lawyer, that allows an individual (called a “maker”) to give one or more other trusted friends or family members (called “representatives”) the authority to help him or her with health care and personal care decisions. If the maker becomes incapable, representatives’ have far-reaching authority to apply the maker’s wishes and values by giving, refusing or withdrawing consent to a wide range of decisions related to the maker’s care.
Currently, representatives are unable to consent to MAiD on a maker’s behalf because our federal laws state that to be eligible for MAiD an individual, among other things, must be considered capable of informed consent to personally request this procedure. While representatives cannot consent to MAiD, which is a medical intervention resulting in death, representatives may refuse or withdraw consent to medical interventions even if they know doing so may hasten the maker’s death.
Additionally, by working with experienced lawyers, makers may be able to have health representation agreements drawn up that permit (or prohibit) representatives to consent to MAiD on a maker’s behalf if our laws change in the future.
For more information on how you can put the proper “life tools” in place and take control of your future incapacity planning, please contact Kim Karras or Brooke Fernandes at BKS LAW at 604-259-1620 or toll free at 877-470-7535.