I have blogged about assisted suicide in the past with reference to the Canadian television show Mary Kills People. The availability of assisted suicide continues to be a subject of public interest as each province deals with the implementation of the outcome of Supreme Court of Canada decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General).
As reported by The Globe and Mail, one particular doctor has removed himself from a roster of doctors who will administer assisted deaths because of changes to the physician fee schedule in British Columbia. Notwithstanding his support for assisted death, Dr. Jesse Pewarchuk of Vancouver Island wrote a letter to his colleagues to explain that the new fee schedule made “medical assistance in dying” economically untenable for his practice.
According to Kelly Grant of the Globe and Mail,
“Under the new fee schedule, B.C. physicians will now be paid $40 for every 15 minutes, up to a maximum of 90 minutes, to conduct the first of two eligibility assessments required by law. Each of the assessments has to be provided by a different clinician. That works out to $240, a significant increase from the $100.25 interim assessment fee that has been in place in B.C. since shortly after assisted death became legal.
For second assessments, the time is capped at 75 minutes.
In the case of providing an assisted death, the province has set a flat fee of $200, plus a home-visit fee of $113.15.”
Within the same article, it was reported that Ontario does not have specific billing codes for this type of medical service at this present time.
Thanks for reading.
Common problems in estate administration, which may lead to litigation, are a lack of planning or a lack of communication. Either someone dies intestate, subjecting their family to the arbitrary rules of intestate succession, or the deceased has left a will with unexpected provisions, without speaking to their family members about their wishes before their death. A possible reason that people might not wish to make a will or talk to their loved ones once they have prepared their will is a reluctance to talk about death.
A growing worldwide movement, “Death Cafe”, aims to remove the taboo surrounding talking about death. The Death Cafe website states its objective is “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives”. At a Death Cafe, people gather to discuss death with others, often strangers, over tea and cake. They are run by volunteers on a not for profit basis, with no agenda or product to sell. Facilitators are discouraged from mentioning their professions or businesses during the sessions.
It is important to note that these events are not counselling sessions, nor do they offer information on death or dying. In fact, guest speakers and information sessions are actively discouraged. The conversation is largely unstructured, with facilitators introducing questions to guide the conversation if necessary.
Death Cafe was started by Jon Underwood in England in September 2011. Since then, the idea has spread and gained in popularity. According to the website, there have been 3455 Death Cafes held across Europe, North America, and Australasia to date.
Death Cafes are regularly held in Toronto. Dates, times, and locations for upcoming Death Cafes can be found on their website. The next Toronto Death Cafe is scheduled for September 14, 2016 at the Belljar Cafe on Dundas St. W.
Thank you for reading.
In the days prior to the evolution of the Internet, planning and administering an estate was relatively simple as the physical belongings of the deceased could be carefully sorted through, packaged, and divided according to the Deceased’s testamentary document or the applicable legislation.
In the days since the Internet has become a common household tool, planning and administering an estate has not been so easy. In a study commissioned by Remember A Charity, The Dying in a Digital Age, it was discovered that four in five people own digital assets, but only nine per cent have considered how these will be distributed upon their death.
According to the study, the nation’s digital music collection is worth an estimated £900 million alone.
Three quarters of those surveyed for the study indicated that their digital music and photo collections had strong sentimental value, while eight out of ten said their digital assets were financially valuable.
Rob Cope, director of Remember A Charity said: ”Bank accounts, music and photograph collections are increasingly stored online…meaning families will wave goodbye to a small fortune if details are not passed on.”
There is now an entire cyber existence that both the Deceased and Trustees need to turn their mind to when planning or administering an Estate. For instance, what will become of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and PayPal accounts? One easy solution is to subscribe to a website called Legacy Locker. Legacy Locker was created in 2009 and it maintains a master list of user names and programs for online bank accounts, social networking sites and document repositories.
In the digital era, it is important that we consider and make arrangements for how our digital assets will be distributed, and for estate planners, it may be just as important that you consider including in your questionnaire or checklist, a question that forces a client to turn their mind to consider their digital assets.
Thank you for reading, and have a great weekend.
Rick Bickhram – Click here for more information on Rick Bickhram.
In a captivating article authored by Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious-disease specialist at a Cancer Center in New York City, he recounts the practical difficulties when someone dies at home – doing it yourself can be thorny and chaotic without the administrative help of Hospitals.
Specifically, when someone dies at home, a licensed professional must determine that the person is indeed dead. While this should be arranged in advance with the doctor, the timing may not ultimately work out. If no doctor is available, the other option is to call an ambulance…for a dead person. There are reportedly other annoyances as well, including:
· the death certificate must be completed in black ink (using only certain approved diagnoses);
· an undertaker needs to be selected; and
· law enforcement must be called to establish that no foul play occurred – not an investigation anyone wants to deal with after just losing a loved one.
Mr. Sepkowitz notes that, with the active support of hospice care, savings could come from facilitating the wishes of those who choose to die at home. He also considers what is likely the more important benefit of assuring tranquility and dignity for the person dying and their family.
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
Natalia Angelini – Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.