New Hampshire Probate Basics

Under New Hampshire law, anyone aged 18 years or older and anyone married under the age of 18, who are of a sane mind have the right to dispose of their property by their last will in writing. In order for a will to be valid under New Hampshire law, it must comply with all of the state's requirements. For example, the will must be in writing, signed by the will-maker, and signed by two credible witnesses who swear that the person's signature is genuine and authentic.

Even if there are no assets, the person named as the executor, or the person holding the original will must file the will and any codicils (amendments or modifications) with the probate court within 30 days of the decedent's death. However, if the decedent had any real or personal property that held "joint tenancy with rights of survivorship," then that property will not be subject to probate since the title passes directly to the surviving joint tenant at death.

Under New Hampshire law, the estate must remain open for a minimum period of six months from the date of the executor's appointment in order to allow creditors to make claims against the estate. If all claims are paid, then the estate can be closed after the six month period ends.

If someone dies without a will, which is referred to as dying "intestate," then someone still has to file an original certified death certificate. If there is a will, then the executor (the person designated by the decedent) is responsible for opening the estate. If that person cannot or will not open the estate, then anyone can open the estate. If the individual died without a will or intestate, then after 30 days from the date of death, anyone may petition to open the estate, even non-relatives.

What is summary administration?

Summary administration is a simplified probate procedure which can speed up the closing of an estate. Summary administration can be used for testate (with a will) and intestate (without a will) estates. The fiduciary administrating the estate can file a motion for a summary administration no less than 6 months after their appointment as administrator or executor of the estate. However, the estate must have been opened for at least 6 months, and there can be no outstanding debts, obligations, unpaid or unresolved claims against the estate in order to qualify for summary administration.

The last option is when a Waiver of Administration is used to settle an estate, which can be used in testate and intestate estates. With a Waiver of Administration, a fiduciary bond and an accounting is not required under this form of administration. In order to qualify, the decedent dies with:

  • The decedent dies with will and the surviving spouse is the sole beneficiary and is appointed to serve as the beneficiary (or if no spouse, an only child); or
  • The decedent dies without a will and the surviving spouse (or, if no spouse an only child) is the sole heir and appointed administrator by the probate court.

Please note that when the beneficiary is a living or testamentary trust, even though the trustee is the beneficiary, the trust will not qualify for Waiver of Administration.

If you have been named the executor in a will or if you were appointed as the administrator of an estate, it's important to discuss the different probate options with a qualified Concord probate attorney from Hebert & Dolder PLLC. With over 20 years of experience, our team can answer your questions, present all of your options and assist you through every step of the probate process.

We understand how complicated and difficult probate proceedings are and with our help, you can receive the professional guidance you need to administrate the estate efficiently and with confidence.

Categories: Probate

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