One of the big problems in disputes over wills is that the person who made the will is deceased and not able to give testimony about his or her intentions. A new law in New Hampshire helps alleviate that problem.
When a wealthy person does something unexpected with his or her will, it is not unusual for the will to be challenged during the probate process. For example, if someone makes an unequal division of assets between his children, the children who received less might decide to challenge the division even if the assets were divided unequally for a good reason. This leads to long and costly court battles between family members as they argue about what the deceased really intended to do. The dispute could possibly be resolved faster if the deceased could testify about those intentions.
As reported by Seacoast Online in “New Granite State estate law designed to end shenanigans,“ a new law in New Hampshire should help alleviate the problem of the inability of the will-maker to testify. No, New Hampshire has not found a way for the deceased to testify. Instead, they have made it possible for someone to probate a will before they pass away. If someone thinks that his or her will could lead to disputes, a probate judge can look at it before the person passes away and give the estate plan a judicial seal of approval.
The law just went into effect and very few other states have similar laws. It will be interesting to track how the process works in New Hampshire and whether or not it actually does lead to fewer and less costly disputes over estates. If it does, other states might enact similar laws.
Please contact our office today at 239-225-7911 to schedule an appointment with Barbara M. Pizzolato if you are interested in protecting your legacy and need to create or update your estate plan. You may also wish to attend one of our free seminars.
Reference: Seacoast Online (August 25, 2014) “New Granite State estate law designed to end shenanigans“