In New Hampshire, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you actually want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for actually implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these objectives.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such decisions for you, if you are unable.
A qualified estate planner in New Hampshire may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Furthermore, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in New Hampshire
Estate plans in New Hampshire almost always have these features:
Will: If you've decided who you want to leave your property and money to after you die, you should make these wishes official, by writing a will. When writing a will, it's always a good idea to have the help of an attorney, since many problems can come up which might make the will much more difficult to implement, or they might even void it entirely. Common problems include ambiguities in the terms of the will (a term which is not clearly written, so it can be interpreted differently by reasonable people), as well as failure to follow the required formalities.
Power of Attorney: Sometimes, people fear that they may become incapacitated (because of injury, illness, or mental deterioration), and that they won't be able to make their own decisions. Thankfully, if you want, you can grant a family member or close friend (or someone else you absolutely trust) legal authority to make important decisions for you, if you are ever incapacitated. This is known as "power of attorney."
Funeral Arrangements: This is a very personal judgment, and you should discuss it, in detail, with your friends or family members who are in a position to implement your wishes. Your funeral instructions should not be included solely in your will, since wills are sometimes not read until days or weeks after the testator's death. By that time, it may be too late to implement the decedent's wishes with respect to funeral arrangements.
Do I Need a New Hampshire Estate Planning Attorney?
To most people, these issues are crucial to their peace of mind during life. Accordingly, it's very important to make them with the help of a good New Hampshire attorney, to make sure that they have the best possible chance of being implemented.
Interesting Facts About New Hampshire
New Hampshire was one of the 13 original American colonies. It became the 9th U.S. state in the year 1788. New Hampshire's state motto of "Live Free or Die" is one of the most popular known state mottos because it reflects the American spirit of liberty and independence.
New Hampshire is a "Dillon Rule" state, meaning that the state retains all powers not specifically granted to local municipalities. Even so, the New Hampshire legislature favors local control of most issues, especially regarding land use statutes. New Hampshire is also noted for the New Hampshire Primary, which was the first primary in the four-year U.S. presidential election cycle.
As one of the original American settlements, New Hampshire also contributed a great deal to the formation and passage of the U.S. Constitution. For example, the first independent constitution in the Americas was ratified in 1776 in New Hampshire. Many famous U.S. cases have been tried in New Hampshire, such as Hawkins v. McGee (1929), a leading case on contracts damages. More recently, Philbrick v. eNom (2009) was filed in New Hampshire, which addressed Internet domain name registration and cyber-squatting laws.
Lawyers in New Hampshire continue to add to the legacy of outstanding legal advancements in the United States. New Hampshire lawyers are often at the forefront of national developments in the field of law. Experienced attorneys in New Hampshire offer services in many different areas of law.