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Surviving Spouse Rights New Hampshire

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Surviving spouses have many rights and benefits under New Hampshire law, including:

  • Intestate Share
  • Exempt Property
  • Support Allowance
  • Elective Share
  • Homestead Rights

Surviving Spouse Rights If There Is No Valid Will

When a decedent dies without a valid will, they have died intestate.   When someone dies intestate, the laws of New Hampshire govern the distribution of assets.  The widow’s share of the intestate estate depends on the other survivors of the deceased spouse.

Entire Estate

The surviving spouse has the right to the entire estate if the decedent was not survived by any issue or by a parent.

Partial Estate

  • $250,000 plus 1/2 of the balance: If the decedent (a) has surviving issue who are issue of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has no other surviving issue, or (b) has a surviving parent but no surviving issue, then the surviving spouse is entitled to $250,000 plus 1/2 of the balance of the intestate estate.
  • $150,000 plus 1/2 of the balance:  If the decedent has surviving issue who are issue of the surviving spouse, and the surviving spouse has separate surviving issue, then the surviving spouse is entitled to $150,000 plus 1/2 the balance of the intestate estate.
  • $100,000 plus 1/2 of the balance: If the decedent has surviving issue, one or more of whom are not issue of the surviving spouse, then the surviving spouse is entitled to $100,000 plus 1/2 the balance of the intestate estate.

 

Surviving Spouse Right to Elective Share – Election Against The Will

Under New Hampshire law, the surviving spouse has the right to elect to take an elective share.  The elective share is is an election against the homestead right and anything that the surviving spouse would have received under the will.  The surviving spouse often elects to take an elective share when the surviving spouse is dissatisfied with the decedent’s will.  The value of the spousal elective share is one of the following:
  • A one-third share of the real and personal property if the deceased spouse had surviving children.
  • $10,000 of personal property and $10,000 of real property, plus one half of the balance of the estate, if decedent left no children nor descendants, but did leave a parent or sibling.
  • $10,000 plus two thousand dollars for each full year of marriage, and also one-half in value of the remainder of real and personal property, if decedent left no surviving issue, parent, or sibling.
The surviving spouse must file a waiver or release of the will and homestead right within six (6) months after the Estate’s executor is appointed.

Surviving Spouse Allowances and Exemptions

A surviving spouse also has rights to certain allowances and exemptions under New Hampshire law, including:

  • Exempt property:  Exempt property is generally the deceased spouse’s personal effects.
  • Homestead:  The surviving spouse is entitled to homestead up to $120,000.
  • Allowance:  The surviving spouse also has the right to a reasonable support allowance.  This is considered part of the elective share, if taken.

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