If you don't already have a current health care directive, you need one. I've made that pitch before, of course, but this year it's even more appropriate, as the New Hampshire legislature has adopted a new form for that document, effective as of January 1, 2014. The changes aren't earth-shattering - it just provides a few different choices - and the new form doesn't presume to invalidate the old one, but if you've been giving any thought to a change in your agents, or you want to provide differently for organ donations or for withdrawal of life support, this would be the time to act. Just to increase your interest level, I'll note that November of this year marks the 10th anniversary of the tragic and protracted Terry Schiavo case - the poster case for why these documents are so important.
My other point is about the legal twin of health care directives: the durable power of attorney that gives your agent the ability to make legal and financial (as opposed to health care) decisions for you. I've harped about those here, too, but recently we've encountered push-back from banks and other institutions reviewing those documents if they don't have in them the "notice to principal" language that was added to the statute by the legislature in May, 2005. Again, the lack of that language didn't invalidate the older powers, but the banks, etc. seem to have forgotten that fact these days and are now routinely asking for it. My suggestion is to check the ages of your documents and consider an update if they're pre-2005 or are missing that "notice" language that usually appears with a bold heading right above the signatures at the end.
If you get both these documents in order, you'll have a much happier New Year - and you won't have to make another resolution!
Posted 12/27/2013 Misc.