The state of New Jersey recently passed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill (MAID) Act. This law permits physicians to assist in the suicide of terminally ill patients following three requests by the patient to do so. To achieve physician assistance, one of the requests must be in writing. Following verification by a second physician, the treating physician can then prescribe medication for the rest of the patient’s life. While the law had controversial origins, it was later upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court. While the law only directly impacts the state of New Jersey, it has implications for everyone in the country who is interested in estate planning.
New York’s Death with Dignity
The New York Medical Aid in Dying Act is currently under consideration by both the Assembly and Senate Committees. If passed, New York’s law would require that a patient who requested aid in dying medication must be at least eighteen years old, a resident of New York, mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions, and diagnosed with a terminal illness that will result in death within six months. A patient who meets these requirements will then only be prescribed medication if: