When a loved one becomes incapacitated or terminally ill, both patients and family members are faced with difficult decisions. These unfortunate situations can highlight the importance of proper estate planning and administration.
Texas laws specifically state that euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. However, this does not leave patients and family members without options when it comes to allowing the natural death process to occur.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide: The difference between them
Although the result of both is the same, there is a legal difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide. Euthanasia generally involves the ending of a person’s life by a doctor or medical professional, usually through a lethal cocktail of drugs. Assisted suicide refers to helping terminally ill patients end their own life. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are currently illegal in Texas.
What other options do you have to give a loved one a peaceful death?
Sometimes life support such as a respirator and intravenous nutrition is used in hopes that a person will recover. What can be legally done when it becomes apparent that the patient will not recover?
If a patient is competent, conscious and able to express their will, they can generally end treatment and decline lifesaving measures to allow a natural death process to take place. If the patient is incapacitated and unable to give their consent, the person with their designated medical power of attorney and their living will can guide their medical team’s actions according to what the patient would prefer if they could speak for themselves.
Estate planning isn’t just about managing events after someone dies — it’s also about making sure that you or your loved one’s wishes for their final days are followed.