The phrase "you can't take it with you when you die" is precisely the reason why people write wills. A will is a legal document detailing how the testator (the official title of the deceased whose estate is being handled) wants his or her belongings divided after they die. State laws determine what constitutes a valid will, with some variations among the states. For instance, not all states accept oral or handwritten wills and all require witnesses to acknowledge the signing of the will. Without a valid will, the case goes to probate court and undergoes a lengthy and often costly procedure, which doesn't often satisfy the survivors.
Additionally, testators sometimes include personal notes to their friends and family members -- often in attached to specific items -- in order to provide better closure. Most states allow the testator to revoke or alter a will whenever appropriate, perhaps to account for life changes or reconsiderations.
Wills Law in New Hampshire: Overview
While New Hampshire accepts oral wills, they are not valid for property valued at more than $100 unless certain conditions are met (such as having three witnesses present). Written wills require two or more credible witnesses.
Additional details of New Hampshire laws concerning wills are listed below. See FindLaw's Making a Will section for additional articles, including What is a Valid Will? and What Happens If You Die Without a Will?
||551:1, et seq.
|Age of Testator
||18 years or older or married and of sound mind
|Number of Witnesses
||Attested and subscribed in testator's presence and at request of testator by two or more credible witnesses.
|Nuncupative (Oral Wills)
||Not valid where property exceeds in value $100, unless declared in presence of three witnesses, in last sickness, and in his usual dwelling (except where taken sick away from home and died before his return), or unless memo was reduced to writing within 6 days and presented to probate court within 6 months after making; also valid for soldier in actual military service or mariner or seaman at sea; may dispose of movables and personal estate.
Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You may want to contact a New Hampshire estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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New Hampshire Will Laws: Related Resources