How to Claim the Rights of a Spouse to Inherit in New Hampshire

by Kay Lee
New Hampshire intestacy law has built-in protections for surviving spouses.

New Hampshire intestacy law has built-in protections for surviving spouses.

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Whether there is a will or not determines how a spouse can claim an inheritance in New Hampshire. If a will exists, it dictates the distribution of the decedent’s estate, and it may or may not include a distribution to the spouse. A will allows the drafter himself to determine the beneficiaries of his estate. If no will exists, New Hampshire law dictates who receives the decedent’s estate, through what is called intestate succession.

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When there is a Will

Step 1

Obtain a copy of your spouse’s will and determine that your spouse has left property to you as his surviving spouse.

Step 2

File Petition for Estate Administration form (Form NHJB-2145-P) with the New Hampshire Circuit Court, Probate Division in the county in which the decedent resided. This form will provide basic information for administrating the estate, such as the following: the petitioner’s name, address and telephone number; the contact information for the attorney, if any; the decedent’s name, date of death and address; note that there was a will; whether the person filing the petition is named in the will, and some basic information about the value of the estate.

Step 3

File the decedent’s will and the decedent’s death certificate with the court, within 30 days of the decedent’s date of death. The estate will remain open for six months so that claims can be presented.

Step 4

File the Legatees and Devisees – Estate with Will form (Form NHJB-2150-P). This form is to be filed by individuals who receive real or personal property through the decedent’s will. To prove your identity, the court may require you to show photo identification to receive the transfers through the will.

Intestate Succession

Step 1

Confirm that your spouse did not have a will.

Step 2

File the Petition for Estate Administration form (Form NHJB-2145-P) with the New Hampshire Circuit Court, Probate Division in the county in which the decedent resided. This form will provide the basic information for administrating the estate, such as the following: the petitioner’s name, address and telephone number; the contact information for the attorney, if any; the decedent’s name, date of death and address; note that there was not a will; whether the person filing the petition is named in the will, and some basic information about the value of the estate.

Step 3

File the decedent’s death certificate with the Probate Division of the Circuit Court in the county in which the decedent resided, within 30 days of the decedent’s date of death.

Step 4

Await distribution through the New Hampshire intestate succession laws. The surviving spouse will receive the entire estate, if the decedent did not have children or any surviving parents. If the decedent had children with the surviving spouse, the surviving spouse will receive the first $250,000, plus half of the remaining estate. If there are no children of the decedent but there are surviving parents, the surviving spouse will receive the first $250,000, plus three-quarters of the balance of the estate. If the decedent and the surviving spouse had children and the surviving spouse also had children with someone else, the surviving spouse will receive the first $150,000, plus half of the remaining estate. Finally, if the decedent had children with someone other than the surviving spouse, the first $100,000 will go to the surviving spouse, plus half of the remaining estate.

Step 5

Present identification to the court if requested, to verify standing as surviving spouse.