During these times of COVID-19 cannabis executives should check these critical personal and company documents:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Beneficiary designations for Assets
- Living will
- Health care proxy
- HIPPA release
- Remote decision making POA
- Business Continuity Plan
In these unprecedented times of COVID-19 many executives are in fact uncomfortable, scared for their health and the health of their loved ones, scared about their and their companies financial security. This discomfort may prevent them updating their personal estate planning documents and essential company.
It’s time for a meeting with your attorney to discuss these essential documents:
- A will, which, in addition to distributing assets, should name a guardian for any children under 18 and an administrator for the client’s estate;
- A durable power of attorney for financial matters, which names an agent to handle legal matters related to the client’s finances, including their taxes;
- Beneficiary designations for assets such as retirement accounts (many of which will need to be updated given the passage of the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act, P.L. 116-94);
- A living will that includes health care wishes, such as religious considerations during medical care and instructions on end-of-life care; these documents go by different names, including medical directives and advance health care directives;
- A health care proxy, which authorizes another person to make medical decisions if the client is unable to; and
- A HIPAA release that permits another person, such as the named health care proxy and/or family members, to talk with medical providers about the client’s medical history and treatment.
Although all of these documents are important to keep current, some updates are extremely urgent such as updating medical instructions and a power of attorney in the event a major illness such as COVID-19 occurs, and checking fiduciaries to remove the names of any people the client no longer speaks to or no longer trusts, or who are deceased.
Special Care should be given to signed medical directives which originally might have been signed without paying much attention to the details those documents contained. Those nuances in ones medical directive could be critical in the current environment.
An urgent consideration related specifically to COVID-19 is whether one has signed a “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) order and how that might interfere with their care if they contract COVID-19.
In some states, DNR orders mean that a person should not be intubated, which would prohibit the use of a ventilator.
Please realize that you don’t create a situation where the doctors would be precluded from using something as simple as a ventilator should you come down with COVID-19.
Cannabis executives may also want to update documents to allow for remote decision-making. Most health care proxies and financial powers of attorney contemplate the agent being present to make and communicate decisions. But that may not be feasible in a COVID-19 environment.
Updating documents to permit communications of decisions by Skype, Zoom, and electronic signatures may be important. Some states have temporarily allowed attorneys and clients to sign documents electronically, so depending on the location, arrangements can be made.