New end-of-life laws ex­plained

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - North Hathey

“Dy­ing doesn’t bother me. It’s just the pre­lim­i­nar­ies that I’m con­cerned about,” Leonard Co­hen once said in an in­ter­view.

And since Jan­uary, we in Que­bec have a new law to help us with the pre­lim­i­nar­ies. The De­cem­ber 10th law con­cern­ing physi­cianas­sisted dy­ing af­fects a few peo­ple and has re­ceived a lot of at­ten­tion. But there’s another new pro­vi­sion that af­fects every­one over 18, and has not re­ceived much at­ten­tion. It con­cerns giv­ing ad­vance med­i­cal di­rec­tives. It’s a new con­sent form spec­i­fy­ing now what in­ter­ven­tions you wish to have, or not, in case you be­come men­tally dis­abled in the fu­ture.

That’s what Me. Tim Leonard, no­tary, ex­plained last week in North Hat­ley, and what he will be talk­ing about again on Wed­nes­day, May 4, in Ma­gog.

Imag­ine an 18-yearold has a car ac­ci­dent and has lost all cog­ni­tive func­tions. If he or she has given his ad­vance med­i­cal di­rec­tives, the fam­ily and med­i­cal staff will know whether the per­son wants, or not, to have car­dio-pul­monary re­sus­ci­ta­tion, and four other kinds of care, in­clud­ing forced feed­ing. This is good for any­one in the fi­nal stage of life with neuro-de­gen­er­a­tive im­pair­ment, loss of cog­ni­tive func­tions, or in a state of de­men­tia.

Medi­care’s web­site, http://www.ramq.gouv. qc.ca/ of­fers in­for­ma­tion in English on how to get the new stan­dard­ized ad­vance med­i­cal di­rec­tives form to fill out. But it ad­vises you read ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion that is avail­able in French only be­fore fill­ing it out.

Bet­ter yet, Me. Leonard sug­gests you see your no­tary. “If you fill it out with the no­tary, it has the force of a le­gal doc­u­ment.”

That’s not the only news on the le­gal as­pects of hav­ing a happy end­ing to your life. “The law changes every day,” Me. Leonard said. “New laws are made, but also in court pro­ceed-

ings, there are new in­ter­pre­ta­tions of ex­ist­ing laws.”

Case in point: the new code of civil pro­ce­dures that came into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1st. It stip­u­lates who is to be present at the open­ing of your safety de­posit box af­ter you pass away, for ex­am­ple.

Leonard’s pre­sen­ta­tion on Wills, Liv­ing Wills, and End-of-Life Le­gal Is­sues will be on Wed­nes­day at the Mem­phrem­a­gog Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Cen­tre, Princess El­iz­a­beth School, 120 Belle­vue, Ma­gog. (En­ter by Door No. 3 from the park­ing lot and press the CLC Room buzzer.)

It is part of a new se­ries of five work­shops called “Happy End­ings” in both Ma­gog and North Hat­ley. On Fri­day in North Hat­ley, you can learn the ins and outs of de­sign­ing your own me­mo­rial ser­vice or cel­e­bra­tion of life. The work­shop is called “Last Words.” Rev. Ca­role Mar­tig­nacco, an ex­pert in per­son­al­ized cer­e­monies, leads it, and she gives par­tic­i­pants a guide to de­sign­ing memo­ri­als that leave a legacy of their own per­sonal val­ues. Last Words is of­fered at UUEstrie, 201 Main St., North Hat­ley.

The two se­ries are or­ga­nized by UUEstrie, the Uni­tar­ian Univer­sal­ists in North Hat­ley. The work­shops in Ma­gog are in part­ner­ship with the Mem­phrem­a­gog Com­mu­nity Learn­ing Cen­tre, and are on Wed­nes­days. The ones in North Hat­ley are on Fri­days. In both places, the ses­sions are from 10 a.m. to noon, and all are in English. They are free of charge. All are wel­come; no pre-reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired. For more in­for­ma­tion, see www. uuestrie.ca, the Face­book page UU Estrie, or call 819-842-4146.

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