Power of Attorney and right-to-die legislation

What the new right-to-die legislation means for POAs

All advisors should be talking to their clients about their end of life wishes, even though legislation is in its early stages

(Getty Images/Hero Images)

(Getty Images/Hero Images)

Clients should state their views on physician-assisted suicide in their estate planning documents, says Fasken Martineau lawyer Corina Weigl.

“[We] include it in our powers of attorney today in anticipation of where the law may be 10 years from now,” she says, explaining the law may later allow for physician-assisted death decisions to be made by power of attorney, based on the patient’s explicit wishes.

Read: Advisors must help clients plan their deaths

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada legalized physician-assisted suicide for mentally capable adults with severe medical conditions. The court gave lawmakers 12 months to draft associated legislation before the existing ban is repealed.

The court decision says the choice to die can’t be delegated to a power of attorney or guardian. “That would be more akin to euthanasia, which is not what the Supreme Court of Canada was talking about,” says Jan Goddard, a lawyer specializing in elder law at Goddard Gamage Stephens. She doesn’t think the law will ever delegate physician-assisted death decisions.

Read the full story at Advisor.ca.