As a small business owner, you may be finding that COVID-19 and its effects present unprecedented issues with contract compliance. In considering a party’s performance under a contract, there may be several clauses built into your agreements that might be invoked to assist your small business.
Consider having an insurance specialist review your insurance policies – Your agreement may require that you carry business interruption insurance or other coverages that may apply to the presence of COVID-19. Review your policy for language about communicable or infectious diseases, or conversely, exclusions related to virus-related losses. It is best, if possible, to have an independent third party review the policy, rather than your broker or insurance company.
Consider sitting back down at the table – You and the other party to the agreement may be able to discuss whether there are alternative means to perform contractual obligations. The other party may be amenable to adjust performance under the circumstances, including extended deadlines or partial performance of obligations.
Review your agreement for force majeure clauses. For more information, see a recent Law Blog from Aric J. Garza Law PLLC relating to such clauses. Note that contractual clauses can be interpreted differently, so it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney, whether you are seeking to enforce or excuse performance under your contract.
Potential Client: “Mr. Garza, I’d you to help me draft a deed for my mother. She wants to give me her house.”
Me: “OK, can I speak with your mother?”
Potential Client: “Well, she sometimes zones out and is confused, but she knows what she’s doing–most days.”
Dementia (and other neurological diseases) commonly confront attorneys when we are asked to handle Elder Law matters and related legal issues.
Here’s a link to a brief but excellent pamphlet relating to Dementia, and how to address care for aging loved ones. It covers Guardianships, Estate Planning, Disability Planning, Long Term Care Options, and Hospice in the event that Dementia or another neurological disease poses a challenge to your family member or friend.
A financial power of attorney is a legal instrument that gives another person (called an attorney-in-fact) the authority to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney can be as broad, or as specific as you want it to be. For example, a power of attorney can authorize someone to make banking, tax, litigation, and/or financial planning decisions on your behalf. A financial power of attorney does not, however, encompass medical decisions–a separate medical power of attorney is needed for that purpose.
You can make the financial power of attorney effective immediately after it is signed, or make it effective in the event of your incapacity (the inability to make decisions on your own behalf).
Although the State of Texas has promulgated a standard form to be used (see the link below), you should consult with an attorney when preparing a financial power of attorney to ensure that it accurately reflects your needs and wishes.