New Hampshire recently passed a unique law which allows individuals to seek “pre-approval” of their Will or Trust. Ordinarily, a Will is only approved by a Court after a person’s death, and a Trust is only submitted to a Court in the event of a controversy. In an effort to reduce lawsuits by family members, New Hampshire law now allows a person to file a Petition with the Court in order to have their estate planning document approved ahead of time.
Cases in which this kind of procedure may be useful include: second marriages, dysfunctional families, unequal division of assets among family members, significant changes from a prior estate plan, and unique assets (such as real estate or a business). The process includes a formal Petition to the Court. Notice must be given to all interested parties, including those persons named in the Will or Trust, as well as the “heirs-at-law” (individuals who would stand to inherit if the Will or Trust did not exist). The Court will hold a hearing and provide all interested parties with an opportunity to object to the Will or Trust.
A Will or Trust which is pre-approved by the Court will have full legal effect after the individual’s death, ensuring that the deceased individual’s wishes are carried out. If you are interested in obtaining this kind of pre-approval of your estate planning documents, please contact our office.