New Hampshire Small Estates Law

Wills and Estates – Small Estates – New Hampshire

Related New Hampshire Legal Forms

New Hampshire recognizes a summary administration proceeding.  You may order the Summary Administration where the  the value of the entire estate, less liens and encumbrances, does not exceed homestead allowance, exempt property, family allowance, costs and expenses of administration, reasonable funeral expenses, and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last illness of the decedent.

Small Estates General Summary: Small Estate laws were enacted in order to enable heirs to obtain property of the deceased without probate, or with shortened probate proceedings, provided certain conditions are met. Small estates can be administered with less time and cost.  If the deceased had conveyed most property to a trust but there remains some property, small estate laws may also be available.  Small Estate procedures may generally be used regardless of whether there was a Will.  In general, the two forms of small estate procedures are recognized:

1.   Small Estate Affidavit -Some States allow an affidavit to be executed by the spouse and/or heirs of the deceased and present the affidavit to the holder of property such as a bank to obtain property of the deceased. Other states require that the affidavit be filed with the Court.  The main requirement before you may use an affidavit is that the value of the personal and/or real property of the estate not exceed a certain value.

2.   Summary Administration -Some states allow a Summary administration. Some States recognize both the Small Estate affidavit and Summary Administration, basing the requirement of which one to use on the value of the estate. Example: If the estate value is 10,000 or less an   affidavit is allowed but if the value is between 10,000 to 20,000 a summary administration is allowed.

New Hampshire Summary:

Under New Hampshire statute, there are three forms of estate administration besides “Full Administration” or “Summary Administration,” which ends Full Administration when further supervision of the estate is no longer necessary : (1) Waiver of Administration which is a curtailing of full administration when certain parties are the sole beneficiaries of the estate, and (2) “Voluntary administration a.k.a. “Small Estate Administration” but only if the decedent died prior to January 1, 2006.

New Hampshire:

New Hampshire requirements are set forth in the statutes below.

553:32 Waiver of Administration.

I. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law, there shall be no requirement for an inventory of the estate, no requirement for a bond, and no requirement for an accounting for assets in the following circumstances:
(1) Whenever a decedent dies testate and the surviving spouse is named in the will as the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(2) Whenever a decedent dies testate and, if there is no surviving spouse, an only child is named in the will as the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(3) Whenever a decedent dies testate and, if there is no surviving spouse or child, a parent is the sole beneficiary of the decedent’s estate and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(4) Whenever a decedent dies testate and, if there is no surviving spouse or child, the decedent’s parents are the sole beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate and both parents are appointed to serve as co-administrators.
(5) Whenever a decedent dies testate and a trust created by the decedent is named as the sole beneficiary of the estate and the trustee is appointed to serve as administrator or any appropriate person is appointed to serve as administrator with the assent of the trustee.
(6) Whenever a decedent dies intestate and the surviving spouse is the sole heir and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(7) Whenever a decedent dies intestate and, if there is no surviving spouse, an only child is the sole heir of the decedent’s estate and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(8) Whenever a decedent dies intestate and, if there is no surviving spouse or child, a parent is the only heir and is appointed to serve as administrator.
(9) Whenever a decedent dies intestate and, if there is no surviving spouse or child, the decedent’s parents are the sole heirs and both parents are appointed to serve as co-administrators.

(b) Administration of the estate shall be completed upon the administrator’s filing, and the probate court’s approval of an affidavit of administration. Such filing shall occur not less than 6 months or more than one year after the date of appointment of the administrator. The affidavit of administration shall state that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the administrator there are no outstanding debts or obligations attributable to the decedent’s estate and shall list all real estate owned by the decedent at the time of death, including the location, book, and page.

(c) If the administrator fails to file the affidavit of administration within the time prescribed in subparagraph (b), the administrator is in default. The clerk shall give notice of the default to the administrator by first class mail within 10 days after the default. The clerk shall issue a citation notice in accordance with RSA 554:26-a.

II. Any interested person may petition for a full administration of the estate at any time from the original grant of administration to the filing of the affidavit of administration, and such petition may be granted by the probate court for good cause shown.

III. Disclaimer, ademption of legacies, or declination to serve as executor may be effectively used to cause the estate to conform to the requirements of paragraph I.

IV. A guardian may be appointed as administrator if the ward qualifies under the provisions of this section.

V. If the administrator is unable to complete the administration of the estate, administration may be completed in accordance with this section by the successor administrator.

VI. The provisions of this section do not relieve the administrator from the responsibility for payment of the expenses of administration and decedent’s debts from the assets of the estate pursuant to RSA 554 and RSA 556.

Source. 2001, 195:3. 2005, 252:3, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. 2011, 88:26, eff. July 1, 2011. 2013, 67:2, 3, eff. Jan. 1, 2014.

553:33 Summary Administration.

I. This section shall apply to all estates, testate and intestate, other than those estates governed by RSA 553:32.

II. Summary administration is available to expedite the closing of an estate when further court supervision of the administration of the estate is no longer necessary. The approval of a motion for summary administration by the court will eliminate the requirement of filing a final account and receipts for the balance of the estate. All other documents required by statute shall be filed. In those estates in which there is federal estate tax liability, the court shall not require the administrator to file a closing letter from the Internal Revenue Service. An administrator may file a motion for summary administration to close an estate not less than 6 months after the date of appointment of the administrator.

III. (a) A motion for summary administration shall contain a statement of the administrator under oath that:
(1) The estate of the decedent has been open for at least 6 months.
(2) To the best of the knowledge and belief of the administrator there are no outstanding debts, obligations, or unpaid or unresolved claims attributable to the deceased’s estate.
(3) No New Hampshire estate taxes are due; or all applicable New Hampshire estate taxes have been paid, and a certificate from the department of revenue administration under RSA 87:26 has been filed with the court.
(4) No federal estate tax is due, or the federal estate tax return has been filed and all taxes reported thereon have been paid.
(5) Court supervision of the administration of the estate is no longer necessary.
(6) The administration of the estate will be completed without further court supervision in accordance with the decedent’s will and applicable law.

(b) The administrator shall attach to the motion either receipts or assents from all specific legatees, and assents from all other persons beneficially interested, as defined in RSA 550:12. The assents shall state that the beneficially interested person:
(1) Agrees that further court supervision of the administration of the estate is no longer necessary;
(2) Does not request a final accounting; and
(3) Requests that the motion for summary administration be granted.

IV. The court may grant a motion for summary administration if all provisions of paragraphs II and III have been met. Upon the granting of a motion for summary administration, the court shall close the estate and release the bond. The administrator shall then be obligated to complete the administration of the estate without further court supervision in accordance with the decedent’s will and applicable law.

Source. 2001, 98:3. 2002, 232:13. 2005, 252:4, eff. Jan. 1, 2006.

Related New Hampshire Legal Forms


Inside New Hampshire Small Estates Law