A valid will in New Hampshire must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator, or by some person at his or her express direction in his or her presence; and
- Signed by two or more credible witnesses, who shall, at the request of the testator and in the testator’s presence, attest to the testator’s signature.
The requirements to make a valid will under New Hampshire law are found at NH Rev Stat § 551:2.
Who Can Make a Valid Will In New Hampshire?
Ever person who is at least 18 years of age, and married persons younger than 18, of sane mind, have the capability to make a valid will under New Hampshire law.
To be of sane mind (to have testamentary capacity) to make a valid will under New Hampshire law, the testator must:
- Understand the act of making a will;
- Understand the property to be disposed of and its general nature;
- Understand his or her natural objects of affection; and,
- Understand and intend to carry out the will’s dispositional scheme.
A New Hampshire Will Must Be Signed By the Testator
In order to be valid under New Hampshire law, the testator must sign the will or direct another person to sign the will for the testator.
If another person signs the will for the testator, the signing must be done at the testator’s express direction and in the presence of the testator.
A New Hampshire Will Must Be Properly Witnessed
To be valid a New Hampshire will must be signed by two or more credible witnesses, who shall, at the request of the testator and in the testator’s presence, attest to the testator’s signature. NH Rev Stat § 551:2.
Who Can Serve As a Witness To a New Hampshire Will?
Any person generally competent to be a witness can serve as a witness to a New Hampshire will.
If one of the subscribing witnesses is also a beneficiary under the will, or the spouse of a beneficiary, the bequest to that witness shall be void unless there are two other subscribing witnesses. This means that if one of your required witnesses to the will is also a beneficiary, the bequest to that witness will be void unless you have the requisite number of witnesses (other than the interested witness) sign the will. NH Rev Stat § 551:3.
A provision in a valid New Hampshire will for the payment of a debt shall not be void nor disqualify the creditor as a witness to the will.
Does a Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid Under New Hampshire Law?
No, a will is not required to be notarized to be valid in New Hampshire. NH Rev Stat § 551:2.
However, like many states, New Hampshire allows for wills to be “self-proved.” A self-proved will makes the probate process faster, because the court can accept the will for probate without contacting the witnesses who signed the will.
To qualify as self-proved, the signatures of the testator and witnesses shall be followed by a sworn acknowledgment made before a notary public or justice of the peace or other official authorized to administer oaths in the place of execution. NH Rev Stat § 551:2-a.
Section 551:2-a, New Hampshire Statutes, provides form language to use to make a will self-proved, as follows:
The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this __________ (day) by ___, the testator; ___ and ___, the witnesses, who under oath do swear as follows:
1. The testator signed the instrument as the testator’s will or expressly directed another to sign for the testator.
2. This was the testator’s free and voluntary act for the purposes expressed in the will.
3. Each witness signed at the request of the testator, in the testator’s presence, and in the presence of the other witness.
4. To the best of my knowledge, at the time of the signing the testator was at least 18 years of age, or if under 18 years was a married person, and was of sane mind and under no constraint or undue influence.
A New Hampshire probate lawyer can make sure that you have created a valid will that carries out your testamentary wishes.