Once you pass away, the court must be notified about the death in order to open probate. While not all assets pass through probate, many do, and this requires an official procedure to open and close probate proceedings in NH.
How long your estate representative has to open probate depends on the individual jurisdiction. When you pass away, the court process of probate is required in order for the court to officially distribute your assets after debts have been paid. Even if there are no assets, someone in New Hampshire must file your will and a death certificate with the probate court within 30 days of the date of death.
It can be a big mistake to include all of the instructions associated with your estate plan in a place where your loved ones may not find them. This time limitation can add additional stress and confusion for your loved ones while they search through your belongings. Including a letter of instructions or providing details to your chosen personal representative about where to find these important materials, including those that may need to be found sooner rather than later, such as instructions for your funeral memorial service or burial is a wise idea. This ensures that your estate administrator has the opportunity to open probate quickly.
Your estate representative is typically the person who initiates the process. You need to discuss with your chosen personal representative their willingness and ability to serve in this role. It can be overwhelming for some people to take on the responsibilities of personal representative if they do not understand the extent and nature of your estate. Working with a New Hampshire estate planning law firm can help you clarify these important questions and more.