Christine Smyth Blog

The NSW Parliament is currently debating the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013 (referred to in the media as the Assisted Dying Bill). Euthanasia is a topic shrouded in ethical issues, polarising opinions. One of the key concerns is abuse of vulnerable people, such as children and the cognitively impaired. Of course in my area of practice I frequently deal with elderly people whose cognitive impairment is in question. This cognitive impairment makes them vulnerable to undue influence, and unconscionable conduct by people they rely upon. It is quite prevalent in the context of Inheritance Law. So it was with much interest that I note the Bill has specifically sought to address this issue, by excluding people with Dementia from having access to the proposed scheme. Of course the obvious area of concern is its impact upon wills. The Bill does contain provisions related to the making of wills, and it also contains provisions dealing with insurance policies. If passed into law, it will impact upon the ever increasing complexities associated with Inheritance Law.

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