Most states have the same general guidelines for writing wills; however, each U.S. state has its own laws governing wills and its own legal stipulations for the will to be valid. It is important that when you make a will in New Hampshire, you understand how to meet these requirements. If your will does not satisfy the legal parameters, the court will not recognize it. When making an online will, you want to make sure you use an online will that is customized for New Hampshire.
Can I Make a Will Online in New Hampshire?
Yes, you can make a will online in New Hampshire. To do so, we recommend using the online will making service USLegalWills. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy.
For an online will to be valid, it is executed with the same formalities as any other will. Here are the legal requirements for wills in New Hampshire:
- The person writing the will (known as the Testator) must be at least 18 years old and be of sane mind (a married person under 18 may also make a will).
- The will must be in writing.
- The Testator must sign the will in front of two or more credible witnesses.
- The witnesses must sign the will in front of the Testator.
The witnesses should not be beneficiaries in the will. If the witness or their spouse are beneficiaries in the will, anything left to them is voided unless there are two other credible witnesses. It is always best to choose witnesses that are “disinterested parties” (not beneficiaries in the will) to avoid any potential legal complications.
After you make an online will, you must print it out. While some states allow digit-only wills, New Hampshire does not. A will is only valid if it is in writing (hard copy), and the Testator and witnesses physically sign the document.
Does New Hampshire Require a Notarized Will?
No, New Hampshire does not require a notarized will. However, it is important to know that the first step when a will is presented to the probate court is that the will must be determined as valid. Having a notarized will can help the probate court quickly validate the will, allowing the executor of the estate to carry out the will.
It is actually not the will itself that gets notarized. There is a separate document (a “self-proving affidavit”) that gets notarized and attached to the will. Most states, including New Hampshire, allow a will to become “self-proved.”
To make a will “self-proved” in New Hampshire, you and your witnesses will make a sworn statement (affidavit) in front of a notary public. These affidavits are the same as though you made the statements before the court. A “self-proving” will speeds up the probate process because now the court can accept the will without requiring the witnesses who signed it to testify to the will’s authenticity.
Can I Name an Executor in New Hampshire?
Yes, you can name an executor when you make a will in New Hampshire. The executor is the person appointed to settle the estate, assuring that the will is followed. It is a good idea to name someone as the executor—you can also name more than one person as an executor, allowing them to serve as co-executors. You want to choose someone you know and trust to be an executor; it is a very labor-intensive job that may take a long time to complete. It is best to pick someone who is organized, detail-oriented, and good with paperwork. You should have a conversation about choosing them as an executor before you name them as such in the will. If you do not name an executor in your will, the probate court will appoint someone.
Here are the requirements for an executor in New Hampshire:
- The executor must be at least 18 years old, and
- The executor must be of sound mind (that is, not judged incapacitated by a court).
While many states prohibit anyone with a felony conviction from serving as an executor, New Hampshire has no statutes prohibiting it. Aside from the above requirements, a New Hampshire probate court will reject a potential executor who:
- Has any conflicts of interest,
- Lacks the ability to make sound judgements, or
- Is otherwise found “unsuitable.”
Usually, the court will accept the named executor (if they meet the requirements) unless someone challenges the appointment. The probate court will then have a formal hearing to reject or accept the named executor.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are some additional requirements in New Hampshire:
- A non-resident executor must be approved by the court and they must appoint an in-state agent to accept legal papers on behalf of the estate.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in New Hampshire?
No, an attorney is not required to make a will in New Hampshire. It is always smart to consult an estate planning attorney if you have a larger or more complex estate. But in most cases, for those with a simple estate and a straightforward will, online will making is a good option. When you make an online will, you want to be sure you meet the legal requirements for a will to be valid in New Hampshire. It is best to use an online will making service with state-specific templates.
What Types of Wills Are Valid in New Hampshire?
Any type of will which meets the federal and state-specific requirements is valid in New Hampshire, whether the will is made online or not.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in New Hampshire?
A will that is handwritten is known as a holographic will, and a holographic will is typically signed by the Testator with no other witnesses. In New Hampshire, holographic wills are not considered legally binding. This is because New Hampshire statutes require the Testator to sign the will in front of two witnesses, who then sign in front of them.
This does not mean you should attempt to make a handwritten will and get it witnessed. Many times, a layperson will forget to include important provisions in the will or use incorrect language. To avoid legal complications, you should use an online will making service with a template designed for New Hampshire.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in New Hampshire?
A nuncupative will is an oral will. Some individuals wish to leave oral wills on video. While nuncupative wills are not ideal, they are allowed in New Hampshire under certain conditions.
- A nuncupative will is recognized by the state if it is made by an active duty soldier or by a mariner at sea to dispose of “his movables and personal estate as he might heretofore have done.”
The only other condition in which a nuncupative will is recognized in New Hampshire is:
- If the property exceeds in value $100, a nuncupative will might be considered valid if it was declared in the presence of three witnesses, if it was made in last sickness, and if it was made in the person’s home (unless if the person is taken away sick and died before returning home). It must then be reduced to writing within 6 days and presented to probate court within 6 months of making.
The probate court will, in the end, determine the validity of a nuncupative will. It may wind up not being considered valid. If time and health allow, a written, witnessed, and legally binding will is much better for avoiding legal delays when settling the estate.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in New Hampshire?
A living will, also sometimes known as an advance directive, is a legal document that contains medical directives and end-of-life care. It is a separate document from a last will and testament; a last will and testament generally contains matters pertaining to a person’s estate.
A living will is a legally binding document that has its own requirements for validity. You can make both a last will and testament and a living will online. For more information on living wills in New Hampshire, you can go here. Once you create a living will, it is your responsibility to let your doctors and your family know that you have one. You will want to make copies of it to give to the executor of your estate, your doctors, and any other trusted person.
In New Hampshire, the legal requirements for a living will to be valid are:
- The person must be of age (18 years or older) and be of sound mind.
- The document must be signed voluntarily with no undue influence.
- It must be signed by two witnesses, who cannot be a spouse or heir.
Upon request, your physician can make the document part of your medical record. A living will only goes into effect if you become permanently incapable of making decisions about your medical care. In New Hampshire, a living will is suspended during pregnancy.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in New Hampshire?
If an individual dies without a will, the intestacy laws of New Hampshire will determine what happens to all the property which belonged to that person. The state will appoint guardians for any minors and appoint an executor for the estate. The estate is divided between surviving family members according to New Hampshire intestacy distribution laws. If there are no surviving family members, the state will take ownership of the property.
This can become a lengthy, complicated legal process. Property is often held up in the probate court process for months at a time. It is important to make a will in New Hampshire so that your estate can be settled quickly and in the way you want. It is especially important to make a will if you have any minor children, so that you can appoint a guardian for them. You can make your will online in New Hampshire, as long as it follows the state-specific requirements.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in New Hampshire?
In addition to naming an executor for the estate, you can also include the following when making a will (online or otherwise) in New Hampshire:
- Name a guardian for minor children.
- Name a guardian to oversee any property left to minor children.
- Determine how and when beneficiaries will inherit.
- Name a trusted person to care for any pets.
- Distribute your property in a specific way.
- Leave gifts or property to family or friends.
- Leave gifts or property to charities or organizations..
- Designate who will receive family heirlooms and sentimental items.
- Make requests for what to do with personal or sentimental items.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in New Hampshire?
A last will and testament is not the right place to include funeral instructions, medical directives, or desires for end-of-life care. Typically, when someone dies, the funeral arrangements are made immediately. It is not until after the funeral that the will is consulted, when the process of settling the estate begins. If any funeral instructions are left in the will, family members may not know about them until after the funeral. Even if your family knew about any medical directives or end-of-life care instructions left in a will, they would not be considered legally binding.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, you want to create a valid living will.
For your funeral directions, you can have a conversation about it with a family member. You can also write up an informal document that describes your wishes for your funeral arrangements—you should give the document to the executor of your estate or any other trusted person.
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in New Hampshire?
Whether you make the will online or not, a valid will is a legally binding document. However, you can change or revoke your will any time. A will you make online is changed or revoked in the same ways of all wills.
In New Hampshire, here are ways to change or revoke a will:
- You can physically destroy it with the intent and purpose of revoking your will (you can do this in any way—by canceling, tearing, obliterating, or otherwise destroying it).
- You can order someone to physically destroy it in front of you.
- You can write a new will that revokes the old one, or
- You can write a document that says it revokes the old one and follows the same formalities used when making the original will.
After any major life change, it is a good idea to update your will. Big changes, like marriage, divorce, birth of a child, adoption, or acquisition of significant assets, or relocation to another state or country, may require you to write a new will. It is often better to write a new will (that states it revokes the old one) if you are making a lot of changes. If you are only making minor changes, you can instead add a codicil to your will. A codicil is an amendment with the changes you want to make, and it must be finalized in the same way that the original will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in New Hampshire?
After you make a will in New Hampshire, you want to:
- Sign it in front of two witnesses, and
- Have the witnesses sign it in front of you.
If you make your will online, you want to print it out and do the same as above.
To make a will “self-proved” in New Hampshire, you and your witnesses must make sworn statements before the notary public. Attach these notarized affidavits to your will.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in New Hampshire:
- A will must be presented to the probate court within 30 days of the decedent’s death. The estate remains open for at least 6 months to give any creditors the chance to make any claims against the estate.
- New Hampshire offers a simplified version of probate through a Waiver of Administration process and summary administration.
- After divorce (or annulment), any provisions that benefit the former spouse are automatically revoked. If your former spouse was your named executor, that is also revoked.
- Not all property can be distributed in a wall; such as, property owned in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Life insurance policy and retirement account proceeds also cannot be distributed in a will (this is because usually beneficiaries are already named in such policies).
- In New Hampshire, an executor of your executor cannot become your executor.
We recommend USLegalWills to make a will online in New Hampshire. Comprehensive service at affordable prices, with an option for secure storage and unlimited free updates to your last will and testament. See their pricing and will details here.