In our blog we will try to provide you with general information regarding family law, as well as updates in important cases and statutes dealing with family law in New Hampshire. This is not to be construed as legal advice. Every case is unique and small facts can make a difference.
Wills in New Hampshire
A will is a legal document that indicates how your property and assets are handled upon your death. A will is necessary for everyone, young and old alike. If you’re married, both you and your spouse should have separate wills. A will determines how your assets will be distributed – if you don’t have a will upon death your estate will likely not go to your family as you may intend. Wills are essential for everyone, no matter the number of assets you have. However, the larger your estate, the more necessary it is to have a current will. It is best to have a will drawn up by an attorney experienced in these matters. There are many legal ramifications to wills that must be considered when making them.
Anyone who has an estate of any value must account for inheritance through a will. There are many complexities that are involved in inheritance including tax considerations. In fact, taxes can be quite high, especially if the assets are not properly distributed. Care must be taken to make certain that taxes and other financial considerations are accounted for in the making of a will or trust. While you may have good intentions when deciding on how to disperse your assets the absence of a will can quickly change them. Instead of having your assets go to your family, the estate could fall to the state, leaving your loved ones with nothing. An experienced New Hampshire attorney will be able to create a will that correctly disperses your assets as intended upon your death.
Part of your will is the naming of an executor. The executor is the person in charge of the details following your death. There are few specific requirements for naming an executor but they must be over the age of 18. The executor is often a family member but can also be a trusted friend. The executor is responsible for distribution of the assets according to the will. This is done through an attorney with experience in these matters. Many people get stressed out over choosing an executor but remember the main objective is to choose someone who is fair and level headed. The law must be followed in dispersing the estate. Always talk to your executor to ask if they are willing to complete the task.
If you have children under the age of 18, you’ll need to address their guardianship in your will. A guardian is the person who is legally responsible for the child. It’s important to name a guardian should you die before your children reach majority. The guardian will have specific duties including both legal and physical custody of the child. You should be very careful when making such a decision and always discuss the choice with the potential guardian before naming them in a will. If you were to die without a will, the state may determine where the children will reside. This may not be where you prefer and the children could even become wards of the state meaning they potentially may be foster children. While you may not want to address such a potentiality, keep in mind that it’s much better to have a plan in place rather than leaving it unstated.
Leaving Inheritance to Children
A will can effectively indicate how to disperse your assets after your death. This can include inheritance to children. However, when children are under the age of 18 the inheritance will need to be placed in a trust or be handled by an adult. When you set up your will you’ll want to include all of your children equally. If you have more children they must be accounted for in your will, so your will must be updated. It is a mistake to assume that your estate will automatically go to your children upon your death. Instead, you must take action, through a will, to ensure that this will occur. Too many instances have happened where someone’s entire estate was lost while the children received nothing, simply because there was no clear will in place. To avoid this problem it is essential to have a will in place. The will should be created by a knowledgeable attorney.
Trusts and Wills
Trusts often go hand in hand with wills. A trust is set up to properly take care of certain assets of the estate. A trust is often used to secure property such as a home in a way that protects it against high taxes. The use of a trust and a will are not mutually exclusive. In fact, you can utilize a trust along with a will to make certain that your wishes are carried out upon your death. Trusts are designed to help get your assets to your loved ones with no problems. One of the most important uses of a trust is to avoid excessive taxes. Your attorney will review your assets to develop a plan that works best in your situation. With tax laws changing from time to time it is helpful to enlist help from a New Hampshire attorney with experience in trusts and wills.
Creating a Will
A will can be as simple as a piece of paper with your intentions, signed and notarized. While this is a very simple example, there can be problems that stem from a will that is incomplete or that does not properly consider the current laws. For these reasons it is always a good idea to have your will professionally drafted by an attorney. Having a will in place is only the first step. To keep your will current you must review it and revise it from time to time. You must make changes whenever you have an addition or deletion to your assets and whenever you want to make changes to your heirs. For example, when you have more children you’ll need to make adjustments to account for them. Additionally, tax laws change often so your will should be reviewed so that it is always reflects the best distribution.
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