Currently legal in five states, the controversial issue of assisted suicide has been brought to the forefront of Minnesotans' minds as the Compassionate Care Act, which could potentially legalize assisted suicide, was recently heard in the state Senate. The bill would allow patients with a prognosis of less than six months to be prescribed a lethal prescription, ending their life instead of dying through the natural progression of their disease.
Proponents of the bill cite that these patients would be able to die with dignity and on their own terms. Opponents insist on the potential abuse of the practice, especially concerning the fact that patients often defy prognosis and the danger of this bill creating the idea of patients being a "burden" on family members and loved ones.
In any case, the passage of this bill could have repercussions in the legal arena. Regardless of the ethical argument concerning suicide and patient care, there will be an increased risk of financial exploitation for these patients. Heirs and beneficiaries would certainly put under more scrutiny if their loved one chose this course of action. The process to receive the lethal prescription is extensive, but the suspicion will still be present, and the argument that a patient was led to end their life in order for their loved one to receive their share of the patient's assets may arise.
While the fate of the bill remains unclear, this sensitive topics creates some interesting legal questions. If your loved one chooses this course of action, it may be necessary to consult an attorney to ensure that their assets are protected and appropriately administered after their death.
Source: Pioneer Press, "Assisted-suicide bill makes it to Minnesota Capitol," Tory Cooney, March 16, 2106