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Probate Law

Explained by experienced and dedicated attorneys

Probate is a formal legal process that occurs when a person dies and involves the transfer of their assets to the party who is inheriting them. Probate may be necessary whenever assets or property are owned by the deceased. The official formal probate process in court may not always be required. Whether you will the legal probate process after a death will depend on many factors including most notably the legal title of any assets in which the decedent had an interest.

To learn more about the probate process after a death, it is advisable to contact an experienced Dover probate litigation attorney who specializes in estate law and in wills and trusts. The attorneys at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. are part of one of the oldest and most respected law firms in New Hampshire. We have been in practice for over a century. Attorneys Christine Rockefeller, Matthew Cox, and Sarah Lavoie can explain to you exactly what is involved in the probate process, what your obligations may be, and how the process differs depending on the size of the estate.

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    Probate in New Hampshire

    Probate may occur with or without a will. If there is a will, then the wishes of the deceased will dictate who receives the assets from the estate; however, there are certain laws that impose limits on this. For instance, if property is jointly owned under certain legal ownership structures, typically the property will automatically pass to the other owner. To give an example, if a husband and a wife own property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship and the husband dies, the property will normally pass automatically to the wife despite what may have been written in the will.

    Wills also have certain requirements to meet to be legally enforceable. While this doesn't necessarily mean they must be formally written by a lawyer, they do need to fulfill New Hampshire's requirements for the bequeathing of assets in order to be considered valid. At a minimum, this typically means they had to be witnessed by two adults and acknowledged by a Notary Public Justice of the Peace. The will also had to be written when the deceased was of sound mind. If the will was not properly written or if it was not valid or executed when the deceased was sane, then the will is subject to challenge.

    When a person dies without a will on file, their estate still may be distributed as part of the probate process. In these situations, New Hampshire's inheritance laws apply to determine who is entitled to the probate assets of the deceased. Your Portsmouth probate lawyer will explain to you what inheritance laws are and how the assets of the deceased will be divided based on those laws.

    You need reliable representation

    Serving clients in Dover, Portsmouth and throughout New Hampshire, our law firm is one of the oldest and most experienced in the area. The probate litigation attorneys at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin, P.A. are people you can trust to help you through this difficult time. To learn more about the types of legal services we can provide in probate matters, contact our firm. We represent individuals involved in all types of estate law and probate matters throughout New Hampshire.

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    Portsmouth, NH 03801

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