NH Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

I have minor children and no estate plan, what would happen if I passed away?

In New Hampshire, if one parent dies, the general rule is that the surviving parent would then be considered the guardian of the child or children.  If both parents are deceased or lack parental rights, then someone (or an authorized agency like the Division for Children, Youth, and Families) could petition the Probate or Family Court for guardianship over the child or children. 

There are different kinds of guardianships:  over the estate and over the person.  A guardianship over the person is necessary in order to make decisions regarding living arrangements and healthcare for the child.  A guardian over the estate would manage the minor’s property and financial affairs.   There could be more than one guardian appointed for a child.

You can nominate a guardian for your children in a Will.  It is helpful to also name successor guardians as well as the probate judge is not required to appoint your choice of guardian.

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