Areas pf Expertise

Estate Planning

Everyone has an estate plan, whether they know it or not. It's either the one they put into writing themselves, or the one the State has put into writing for them! If you fail to plan, the New Hampshire intestacy laws, not your family, govern the disposition of your assets after you die.

Estate Planning is the general term for the steps that people take to ensure that their money and personal property is passed on to their loved ones or favorite charities after their death.

It's easy to avoid getting your affairs in order. It takes a little time, and costs a little money. But the results of leaving this undone can be devastating for those left behind. When you haven't taken the time to put your wishes into writing, in the form of a Will and/or a Trust, you are, in effect, permitting state laws take over and determine what will happen to your assets. You might be surprised to know that:

  • If a married person dies without a Will, their surviving spouse does not automatically inherit all of the assets, even if the couple worked together to accumulate those assets and consider them to be joint property.
  • Surviving family or friends will need to ask the Probate Court to appoint an executor, and several competing candidates may come forward and claim that they should be appointed. Sorting this out will result in a court hearing.
  • The executor will probably have to post a bond in an amount set by the Probate judge, in order to ensure that assets are protected. Bonds are difficult to get in cases where credit is not perfect.

At Howard & McBeath, we work closely with you to help you prepare all the documents necessary to ensure that your estate is wrapped up quickly and efficiently after your death, and that your survivors are not left wondering what to do and how to do it.

We can also prepare documents which allow you to state your wishes regarding your health care and end-of-life care, as well as general Powers of Attorney.

If you have a probate matter, or if you are not sure whether or not a probate estate needs to be opened after the death of a loved one, our attorneys can review your case, and, if necessary, represent your interests in any of the probate courts in the state.

Please call us if you have questions regarding:

  • Wills
  • Trusts
  • Durable General Power of Attorney
  • Health Care Advance Directives (Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney)
  • Probate Matters