Category Archives: General

Happy 18th! Time to Make Adult Decisions!

Your child reaching 18 years old is a milestone.  Legally, your little one now is an adult with adult rights and responsibilities.  Here some of the ways the situation has changed.

“Our Son Does Not Want That” v. “ But He Told Me He Did if This Happened”

No parent should have a child become incapacitated through illness or injury, and be faced with making crucial health care decisions for your child.  Your child becoming an adult adds a layer of complication.  Georgia has an Advanced Health Care Directive that allows an adult to state what he or she wants for medical care in that situation, and designate who will make the decisions.  Other states use a living will, health care power of attorney, or a combination of the two.  Your now-adult child executing a clear and legally enforceable directive as to what your child would wants, plus who your child wants making the decisions, is a wise move.  This will reduce the risk of a legal fight that can cause more pain and suffering for all involved.

“Access Denied”

Your now-adult child has rights under HIPAA and other privacy laws that will restrict your access to your child’s medical records.  The child can give anyone permission to access his or her medical records – typically through a written consent or release.  The consent can be added to an Advanced Health Care Directive or in a separate document.

“Hands off My Money”

You child turning 18 means you will encounter resistance if you try to get information about his or her bank accounts, credit card accounts, and so on.  Your child’s right of privacy comes at a cost if your child cannot takes care of his or her affairs, be it because of illness, injury, or other reasons.  A power of attorney can be useful if the child wants to entrust someone to handle his or her financial affairs in those situations.  Your child making an adult decision like that can reduce the risk of having to rely on a judge’s decision. 

“But I am the Parent – Doesn’t that Count?”

It is risky to rely on a doctor, banker, and so forth to automatically defer to you as the parent of your now-adult child.  Lacking a power of attorney, directive, or written consent could put in you in the position of having to get a court order if your child is unable to give consent, when you need to have that consent.  It is easier on everyone to have that done in advance.

Whether your child will make a health care directive, sign a power of attorney, do a will, or any other adult decision is up to your child and your child alone.  Being an adult means having to make these decisions.  Have a talk with your child about this part of adulthood.  Suggest that your child speak with an attorney on how to get done what the child wants.  Hopefully, the paperwork gathers dust from non-use, but it will be there just in case.

This post provides general information only.  This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about your situation.  A blog article is not a substitute for legal advice that fits your situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.

© 2017 Matthew D. Macy

Success at CCEA!

Jeff Cohen and Jefferson Allen of Cohen Cooper Estep & Allen, LLC, were interviewed by WSB Atlanta about their client, a tax preparer.  Messrs. Cohen and Allen obtained a successful result for the client.   You can see the broadcast here.  Below the line is a press release by Jeff Cohen about this story, printed here with permission.


In early March, the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) tried and failed to shut down a family-owned tax return preparation business that prepares thousands of tax returns for Georgians every year. Despite the fact that B&B Accounting & Tax Service, Inc. and its owner, Ruth Barr, have been in business for over 40 years, the Department of Revenue used a very small sampling of tax returns to come to their own conclusion that B&B was intentionally understating the tax liability of thousands of Georgians. Ruling upon the DOR’s application for a Temporary Restraining Order, the Fulton County Superior Court disagreed.

Tax Attorney Jeffrey Cohen, of the law firm Cohen, Cooper, Estep & Allen, LLC, was critical of the lack of evidence presented by the DOR. Cohen contended that the scant number of tax returns presented in court by the DOR misrepresented the facts. If the DOR had been awarded its Temporary Restraining Order, it would have forced Ms. Barr and her employees out of business. Mr. Cohen, who represents taxpayers and return preparers before both the State and the Internal Revenue Service, had not previously heard of the DOR ever attempting to shut down a legitimate tax preparer. His partner, Jefferson Allen, argued to the Court that the State required a substantial amount of evidence to prove its case, and that it failed. The Court agreed with B&B that the evidence presented by the State was inadmissible and unsubstantiated hearsay.

Soon after the Court’s ruling, the Department of Revenue dismissed the case against Ms. Barr and B&B.

Dazed and Confused

Twenty-eight states and Washington, D.C. legalized marijuana to varying degrees under their respective laws.  As you have heard, though, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The marijuana sector boomed when the Obama Administration decided to place a low priority on enforcing the federal marijuana laws vis-a-vis marijuana activities under state law.

The federal government still has a hammer in the federal drug laws that could shatter the marijuana industry.  The Trump Administration made statements recently that it may use that hammer on part of that industry.  We will see what happens.

The possible shift in how the federal government handles marijuana highlights that anyone looking to get into, or stay in, the marijuana business must be ready.  The breadth of the federal drug and racketeering laws means that those doing business with or assisting those in the marijuana business could be at risk.  Landlords, suppliers, financiers, and professionals, to name a few, should assess their risks if federal law enforcement changes its priorities.  Ignorance rarely, if ever, works as a defense.

The standard advice stands – go into any business with your eyes open.  Know the regulations and the risks.  Speak with your lawyer, CPA, insurance agent, and others to get the advice you need.  Call us and see how we can help you.

This post provides general information only.  This post is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about your situation.  A blog post is not a substitute for legal advice that fits your situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your circumstances.

© 2017 Matthew D. Macy

Dude, Pass the Chips 2

 

Last April, I wrote the post, “Dude, Pass the Chips,” that mentioned a Colorado Court of Appeals decision holding that an employee does not have a claim against his employer for being fired for medical marijuana use. On June 15, 2015, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision affirming the Colorado Court of Appeals. You can read the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision  the Colorado Bar website

We now join the conversation in progress between Q and A from “Dude, Pass the Chips.”

 Q:        The Colorado Supreme Court is a buzz kill, man. Why can we be fired for using legal marijuana?

A:        Marijuana may be legal in some contexts under Colorado law, but it remains illegal under federal law. The Colorado Supreme Court said that an employee who uses marijuana in compliance with state law does not have a wrongful termination claim under Colorado’s lawful activities statute, because marijuana use remains illegal under federal law.

Q:        “Lawful activities” statute?

A:        Colorado has a statute that an employer generally cannot fire an employee for the employee’s lawful activities done outside of work hours and not on the employer’s property. There are exceptions, of course.

 Q:        But Colorado legalized medical marijuana and recreational marijuana!

 A:        Again, federal law prohibits any marijuana use outside of a narrow exception for federally approved studies. Colorado’s lawful activities statute does not limit the definition of “lawful activities” to activities deemed lawful under state law. Since federal law criminalizes marijuana use, its use is not a “lawful activity” under the Colorado statute. Some states with medical marijuana or similar laws included employee protections, but Colorado did not.

 Q:        But other states, even Georgia, are legalizing some form of medical marijuana. Doesn’t that count for something?

A:        It means public attitudes are changing.  Even so, federal law still classifies the use of medical marijuana and recreational marijuana as crimes. What is that smell?

Q:        I made brownies. Want one?

A:        What is in it?

Q:        Are you a cop? 

A:        I will pass, thank you.

This post provides general information only and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to be legal advice about a specific situation.  Laws change and your situation may be different.  You should consult with a licensed attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.