Before you panic about the new “Hawai‘i Aid in Dying Law,” it’s a great law but not for the reasons you may think.
Governor Ige signed the Our Care, Our Choice Act on April 5, 2018 and it will become law on January 1, 2019. The new law’s purpose is to establish a regulated process whereby a mentally competent adult resident of Hawai‘i with a terminal illness and less than six months to live may choose to end life with a prescription.
The Act provides that any individual desiring to take advantage of this law must first go to counseling, and this is where the true benefit of this law rests. Studies performed in California found that going through this regulated process ultimately rendered the drugs unnecessary.
The studies revealed that, of those seeking assisted death only a quarter actually did so once engaged in the mandatory counseling process. For the first time, a qualified professional took the time to find out what distressed them, what quality of life meant to them, and in doing so helped them gain control of their lives, resulting in better quality of care.
In all areas of estate planning whether it relates to finances, health care, end of life decisions or who gets what, when and why, the key to successful estate planning — ensuring that your intentions are honored — is through the process of deep reflection as to what is meaningful to you, and then engaging in crucial conversations with loved ones, care providers, and other professionals. It is never simply the making of a document.
Stephen B. Yim, Attorney at Law
2054 S. Beretania St., Honolulu HI 96826