The Invaluable Role of a New Hampshire Estate Planning Attorney

Do you know how to safeguard your financial assets and your independence during your lifetime? Do you know how to financially protect your family after your death? If the answer is no, then you need to contact a New Hampshire estate planning attorney to ensure that you have an adequate estate plan in place. Your NH estate planning lawyer will ensure that the provisions of your estate plan align with current New Hampshire state laws.

The functions that an estate planning attorney carries out are varied and numerous, but just a few of the elements they will assist you with include determining who has power of attorney, establishing a living trust, and ensuring that your wishes regarding your health care are carried out. Taking such measures will ensure that your assets and property are distributed according to your wishes, rather than the according to the existing New Hampshire intestacy statues.

  • Power of Attorney – In its most basic definition, power of attorney is the legal designation of another individual to govern your financial affairs. In New Hampshire, there are two primary types of power of attorney. The first type is general durable power of attorney. In the event of your passing, this individual is in charge of ensuring that your estate is dispersed according to your wishes. The second type is attorney in fact. This is the individual who will be in charge of making medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so while still alive. By designating power of attorney in advance, you will be minimizing the amount of delay and frustration that your bereaved loved ones experience after your passing.
  • Health Care Proxy – The Health Care Proxy, as dictated by New Hampshire state statutes, enables an adult to appoint another adult to make medical decisions on their behalf should you become unable to do so during the course of your lifetime. Examples of the types of decisions this person would be authorized to make include do not resuscitate orders, the decision whether or not to continue/disconnect life support, and other life sustaining measures.
  • Living Will – A living will is a legal document that expresses an individual’s wishes and desires about what extraordinary measures should or should not be used to extend one’s life if there is no expectation of their return to consciousness.
  • Last Will and Testament – This is another legal document that designates how, when, and to whom specific assets of your estate should be designated. It also appoints guardians for minor children who might be in your care at the time of your passing. If a designated guardian has not been established for the care of your children, then New Hampshire state will appoint a guardian.

What many residents of New Hampshire do not realize is that a last will and testament is not capable of preventing the expenses, time delays, and publicity that accompany probate hearings. Nor can a last will and testament override the named beneficiary of retirement policies, life insurance policies, joint bank accounts, and other similar documents. This is when the assistance of a professional and experienced NH estate planning attorney is invaluable. He or she will be able to examine the designated beneficiaries of such policies and determine if a living trust needs to be created in addition to the last will and testament.

In addition to making the aforementioned designations, estate planning also involves a certain amount of tax planning. Most individuals are aware that estates with a specific monetary value must pay federal estate taxes, but what they do not realize is that these federal taxes can also include gift, income, retirement plan, and real property taxes. Because of the complexities of tax planning for estate plans, most New Hampshire estate planning lawyers, including ours, retain the services of CPAs, financial planners, bank officers, and other similar professionals. Depending upon the monetary value of your estate, creating a living trust, with the assistance of an NH probate attorney, can significantly reduce the amount of federal estate taxes your loved ones must pay after your passing.

The process of estate planning in New Hampshire is complex and intricate. To ensure that your final wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are properly cared for after your passing, please contact our law offices today. Your initial consultation is free. Often times, the peace of mind that comes from creating an estate plan is the best gift you can give your grieving loved ones after you are gone.

Learn the True Value of New Hampshire Estate Planning

According to its technical definition, estate planning is process of anticipating and arranging for the dispersion of one’s estate and assets. Despite its grandiosity, do not be fooled by the name. Estate planning and the services of New Hampshire estate planning attorneys are not reserved for New Hampshire residents with considerable amounts of property, financial assets, investments, and cash. Each person, regardless of their financial status, can benefit from estate planning.

It is a common misconception that estate planning involves only the creation of a will or the establishment of a trust. Estate planning encompasses much more. It also includes planning for business, taxes, and financial matters, as well as designating who will make such decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so on your own.

There are a number of reasons why New Hampshire residents believe that do not require an estate plan. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, this assumption is wrong. If you do not have an estate plan, or an NH estate planning attorney working on your behalf, and you were to become unable to make legal decisions for yourself, then the state of New Hampshire will appoint a guardian who will make medical and financial decisions for you. This process can become lengthy and difficult. Moreover, if you were to pass away without an estate plan in place, then your personal assets will first be distributed among your creditors. Whatever is left over will then be given to your loved ones.

If you want to ensure that your loved ones will be properly cared for after your death, then having an estate plan in place is critical. Even if you do not have much in the way of financial assets or property, it is still important to have an estate plan, so that your wishes regarding your medical care will be carried out. Most importantly, you will be minimizing the amount of stress that your bereaved loved ones most go through after your passing. For this reason alone, having an estate plan in place is quite valuable.

Under the terms of New Hampshire state law, an estate is comprised of all of the assets that one holds. Examples of such assets include your residential home, financial investments, cash holdings, automobiles, essentially anything that possesses monetary value. The overall monetary value of your estate is determined by what the fair market value of your assets is, after your debts have been subtracted from the total. Examples of common types of debt include mortgages, credit cards, loans, etc. Depending upon the total value of your estate after your death, your heirs may be required to pay estate taxes. An experienced New Hampshire estate planning attorney will know how to assist a client in preparing for such expenses in advance.

During the estate planning process, there are a number of important questions that must be answered. The decisions that you make now will produce a direct impact on your heirs and loved ones. Here are just a few questions that your NH estate planning attorney should review with you:

  • If you are unable to make decisions for yourself during your lifetime, who will be responsible for making decisions about your health care and living arrangements?
  • If you are unable to do so for yourself, who will assume responsibility for managing your finances and assets?
  • Who is going to be responsible for overseeing the dispersion of your assets after your passing?
  • To whom and where would you like your assets to be divided?

Even after you have engaged the services of a New Hampshire estate planning lawyer to plan your estate, your relationship with them does not end there. Periodically, your estate plan will need to be reviewed to ensure its accuracy. It should also be reviewed when a major life event, like a death or birth, occurs. This is an ongoing process that is constantly evolving. The state laws of New Hampshire can change. Individuals also change. Because of the changing variables involved, your estate plan will require updating.

This is simply a general overview of what estate planning is and the value it holds. To receive more in depth advice about the legalities, financial matters, and taxes associated with your estate, please contact our experienced and professional NH estate planning attorneys today for a free consultation. No two New Hampshire estates are alike, and our knowledgeable lawyers will provide the assistance required to address your own personal needs.