Probate Shortcuts in New Hampshire

Save time and money when you wrap up an estate in New Hampshire by using these probate shortcuts.

New Hampshire offers a probate shortcut for "small estates." This makes it easier for survivors to transfer property left by a person who has died. You may be able to transfer a large amount of property using the following probate shortcut -- saving time, money, and hassle.

Simplified Probate Procedures

New Hampshire has a simplified probate process for small estates. To use it, an executor files a written request with the local probate court asking to use the simplified procedure. The court may authorize the executor to distribute the assets without having to jump through the hoops of regular probate.

In most states, simplified probate is based on the value of the estate being less than a certain amount. In New Hampshire, this process can be used regardless of the estate value but only in certain situations. You can use the simplified small estate process in New Hampshire in the following situations:

  • a will names the surviving spouse as the sole beneficiary
  • a will names an only child as the sole beneficiary and there is no surviving spouse
  • a will names one or both parent as the sole beneficiaries and there is no surviving spouse or child
  • a will names a trust as the sole beneficiary and the court appoints the trustee as the administrator or consents to someone else serving as the administrator
  • there is no will and the surviving spouse is the sole inheritor
  • there is no will or surviving spouse and an only child is the sole inheritor, or
  • there is no will or surviving spouse or child and the parent or parents are the sole inheritors.

In all of the situations above, the sole inheritor must be appointed as the administrator to use this shortcut. The administrator must state in the request to use this process that he or she doesn’t know of any unpaid debts and give the legal description of any real property the deceased person owned. The administrator's filing (between six months and a year after the death) and the probate court's approval are all that are required. The court doesn’t require an inventory of the estate, bond or an accounting for the assets. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 553:32.

For More Information

For help determining if an estate qualifies for the probate shortcut, or handling an estate in general, see The Executor’s Guide, by Mary Randolph (Nolo) or Estate Planning Basics, by Denis Clifford (Nolo).

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