Jan 9

Estate Planning Legislation to be introduced in New Hampshire in 2017

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We are expecting at least two significant estate planning bills to be introduced in the New Hampshire legislature this year.

1. Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This is a uniform law which has been either introduced or enacted in more than half of the States in the country. A “fiduciary” is a person appointed to manage the assets of another person (such as an Executor, Trustee or an Agent under a Durable Power of Attorney). This new law would give a fiduciary the specific authority to manage digital assets like computer files and websites, along with access to electronic communications like email and text messages. The law is intended to remove roadblocks that fiduciaries have previously experienced in accessing these kinds of assets.

2. Uniform Power of Attorney Act. In 2016, Annis & Zellers participated in a committee which drafted the New Hampshire version of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act. The Act would provide a set of default rules for Durable Powers of Attorney, which is the document whereby you appoint a financial agent to manage your assets for you. The Act clarifies the role and duties imposed on financial agents, with a focus on protecting incapacitated persons and improving acceptance of these documents by financial institutions. If the law passes, your existing Durable Power of Attorney documents will remain valid, though you may wish to consider an update.