Often times, clients bring health care directives from their healthcare provider for our review. Generally, these documents are sufficient, as long as the legal requirements are met. Clients sometimes ask if it is necessary to have this document if they are married, assuming their spouse will automatically have the authority to decide. While that is likely true, having a document that states your wishes is a comfort to your family during what are often emotional and trying times. It is a gift to be prepared and communicate your wishes. Medical providers will ask for these documents when someone is admitted, and having terminal illness instructions or do not resuscitate language will allow the provider to know your wishes up front in the event of a terminal condition or vegetative state. The document can also include your other wishes, such as burial, cremation, or funeral service details. In the event you are a single person with a partner, medical providers will likely look to family members before friends, so it is important that you nominate the person you want making those decisions. On occasion a dispute arises as to end of life decisions; as lawyers, we live in the wake of the Terri Schiavo case. To avoid that type of situation, we encourage all of our clients to include health care directives in their estate plans. Additionally, if you have a diagnosis and want to be specific regarding what types of treatment you will endure, we can tailor the document to meet your specific needs.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. The plaintiffs will likely argue that the whole point of the Ashley Madison site is to cultivate secret affairs between married persons - so when the company failed to safeguard the data behind those affairs, they violated the privacy and contractual rights of the customers. On the other hand, there are a host of state statutes which make adultery illegal, so while those statutes are likely outdated and rarely enforced, I'm relatively certain Ashley Madison will claim it had no duty to protect the information concerning what amounts to illegal activity. Good opportunity for creative lawyering.
In another twist, Ashley Madison is sending "take down" notices to sites which are publishing the site's data. Ashley Madison is claiming copyright ownership (or that someone else has copyright ownership) over the data, and in accordance with federal law, is demanding other publishers like tabloid websites remove the data or face copyright infringement claims. Relatedly, because the data does not belong to an individual downloading and viewing it (typically), if you were to download that Ashley Madison database you might also be committing the crime of receiving stolen property. So in a bizarre turn of fate, be weary of the temptation presented by Ashley Madison...it might get you in hot water!
Changes in the law include a shift from a corporation-model to a partnership model (board of directors versus direct member control). A related change is that profits and losses under a partnership model are distributed per capita meaning each partner gets an equal share, in comparison to the old model which was based upon contribution, the pro rata share model.
LLC owners can now significantly modify the default statutory provisions with the use of an Operating Agreement. Businesses are advised to discuss their options for an Operating Agreement because often the default conditions of the new statute are at odds with what business owners actually want for the manner in which their business is to be run.