Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. New Hampshire wills allow for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or the person making the will) in creating valid New Hampshire wills and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer a New Hampshire last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for a New Hampshire Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age or married.
Capacity: The testator must be of sane (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: A New Hampshire last will and testament must be signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other individual in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction.
Witnesses: A New Hampshire last will and testament must be signed by be signed by 2 or more credible witnesses (who may not receive property under the will). The witnesses must, at the request of the testator and in the testator's presence, attest to the testator's signature.
Writing: A New Hampshire last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A New Hampshire last will and testament may make a disposition of property to any person.
Other types of recognized wills:
Nuncupative wills: Under certain New Hampshire statutory requirements (soldier in actual military service, or a mariner or seaman when at sea), an oral will disposing of personal property may be recognized. However, the legal requirements for an oral will are specific and need to be strictly followed in order for a court to deem the will valid.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, New Hampshire laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
LegalZoom's New Hampshire wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our New Hampshire wills form may be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
Our New Hampshire wills form may also pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
If a spouse is excluded from the will, the surviving spouse may take a portion (a "statutory share") of the estate within a certain period of time as allowed by New Hampshire laws.
Providing for Pets
New Hampshire law currently does not have specific statutes pertaining to providing care for pets. However, the testator may specify a beneficiary as the new owner of a pet. Legalzoom's New Hampshire wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets in this manner.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
A New Hampshire will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
A New Hampshire will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document making additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with New Hampshire probate laws.
Revoking a Will
A New Hampshire will and testament or clause in a will can be revoked by another valid will or codicil, or by some writing executed in the manner provided by New Hampshire laws, or by canceling, tearing, obliterating or otherwise destroying the same by the testator, or by some person by the testator's consent and in the testator's presence.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the New Hampshire last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the will, and distribute property as designated in the New Hampshire last will.
New Hampshire's estate tax includes the Federal credit for estate taxes. Within 9 months of the testator's death, estate taxes that are due as a result of probating a New Hampshire last will need to be filed with the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration.
It is extremely important to make a New Hampshire will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict New Hampshire laws.
For example, your spouse will receive the entire estate if you have no surviving parents or children. If you leave no surviving spouse and only children, then your children will share the estate in equal amounts.
If you make a New Hampshire will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.