As of January 1 2013 the law on protection of adults has undergone revised changes. The revised law led to a few modifications in the following areas particularly in the right of self-determination, strengthening family solidarity, and changes to matrimonial and inheritance law.
Under the revised law special agencies are now assigned to take on the role of serving as child or adult protection agents, this led to structural reforms in all cantons across Switzerland, instead of guardianship authorities the cantons now establish their own regional or cantonal adult protection agencies.
The revised law eliminates sensitive terminology used to describe people, for example terms such as deprivation of legal capacity or under protection of legal advisor are now rephrased. The term ‘old guardianship authorities,’ is now referred to as ‘child and adult protection agencies.’
What are some of the changes?
The revised law stipulates that an individual can appoint someone to take care of their needs in case they have an incapacity that prevents them from making their own decisions. A person can also decide in their will if they would like to issue instructions on medical treatment so that they never become dependent on the authorities.
At the same time, the law strengthens family solidarity and relieves the burden on the state by stipulating that a spouse or partner must be involved in all medical decisions made by the doctor. The revised law also specifies that the appointment of a guardian will no longer need to be published in a newspaper, as this is seen as stigmatizing. On the other hand, a legal advisor is required to carry out all their responsibilities and inform third parties of their appointment.
Under the revised law parents are allowed to appoint an heir to their residuary estate if they have children with disabilities. Other changes to matrimonial and inheritance law specify that under certain circumstances contracts can be drawn with the consent of a legal advisor, individuals who can make their own decisions can get married without having to consent to a legal representative.
Self Determination Options
The revised law allows for greater freedom when it comes to personal decisions regarding one’s future. For example, the law specifies an advance directive, allowing an individual to appoint a person or a legal entity to take care of their personal or financial care in case they cannot do so alone.
An individual has the right to issue a will specifying the type of medical treatment they would like to receive, and appoint a person to discuss their medical procedures with the doctor if their mental capacities are hindered.
Regarding issues of inheritance if an individual becomes incapacitated and does not leave children or a spouse, a lawyer can appoint a reversionary heir to the estate. In other circumstances individuals who receive official assistance can also come up with their own inheritance contracts.
FERZ SA will discuss your rights and privileges under the law of protection of adults, call or email us for a consultation.