On April 20, the law firm Halsbury Chambers will host a free legal forum at the British Colonial Hilton titled “Wills, Living Wills and Trusts”.
The first in a new series and sister to the annual free legal clinic, “Information You Need for the Life You Want”, the mini-forum will be limited to the first 50 persons to pre-register and will be held from 11am to 1pm.
“When we decided on a series of mini-forums on specific subjects that impact people’s lives. We wanted to begin with a topic that too few Bahamians pay sufficient attention to, and that is the preparations you make and leave in place to safeguard the assets you want to leave your loved ones,” said Branville McCartney, managing partner of the firm headquartered on Village Road.
“There is probably nothing that people procrastinate over more than preparing a will. It does not have to be complicated and there is no requirement for you to be rich to have a will.
“At the same time, we wanted to address the concept of living wills, that is the legal and ethical issues surrounding the right to direct medical treatment during incapacitation, including what rights you have to choose not to be resuscitated or whether you want to be kept alive by mechanical means. We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to understand the differences among all the options, wills, living wills and trusts.
“The worst time to deal with having to make critical decisions is at the time of the loss of a loved one when you are grieving or when your loved one is mentally unable to make decisions for themselves.”
According to McCartney, the forum will also tackle the sensitive issues surrounding Alzheimer’s.
“We have many instances of persons suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease in the Bahamas and the question of how to handle the affairs of someone who is no longer always capable of handling their own affairs will be discussed,” he said.
In addition to the firm’s attorneys, presenters include Dr Michael Darville, clinical director of ethics, who will lead the discussion on ethics and acceptability of living wills in the Bahamas.
The focus will be on medical treatments and various life-sustaining measures including mechanical breathing (respiration and ventilation), tube feeding and resuscitation.
Dr Darville is employed by Critical Care Associates and serves as the assistant clinical director of the Intensive Care Unit at Doctors Hospital.
He currently serves as the clinical director of the pharmacy, clinical director of ethics and clinical director of advance cardiac and life support.
Dr Darville is also a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, Society of Critical Care Medicine and American College of Physician Executives.