California’s assisted suicide bill went into effect in June. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, an estimated 34,000 will inquire about receiving a lethal amount of prescription barbiturates to end their lives but only 1,500 will meet the requirements to receive them. Despite being in effect now uncertainty surrounding the law remains. Here is what it is currently known.
There are a number of requirements and steps that must be taken before a terminally ill individual in California may legally end their life. The process is very strict and laid out below.
If a patient is unable to meet any of these requirements or follow any of these steps, they will not legally be able to end their life under this act.
There is no requirement that a hospital, doctor, and insurance company pay, fund or participate in the End of Life Option Act. This means that doctors may refuse to see patients coming to them for “end of life” drugs, hospitals do not have to inform patients of this option and insurance companies do not have to pay for these life-ending drugs. Many California hospitals, especially religious based ones, have already announced that they will not be participating.
The End of Life Option Act provides a grim but humane option for Californians suffering from terminal illnesses. It is hard to say if such an option will expand across the country, but for now, it is an option in a handful of states. Such a decision is not to be made lightly and anyone considering ending their life under these circumstances should confer with their family members and those that they will be leaving behind.
From an estate planning standpoint, it is always important to have your affairs in order before you pass on. An experienced estate planning attorney can sit down with you and discuss the best way to prepare you and your family for the future. For an experienced estate planning attorney, contact the law office of Charles D. Stark. Schedule an appointment today at (707) 527-9900 or visit our office in Santa Rosa.