New Hampshire: Every Legal, Medical, and Estate Planning Document You Need

Here's a complete guide to every critical medical, legal, and estate planning document and relevant state law for New Hampshire. Download these forms and get started with Pillar to organize all of your most important documents in one safe, secure, easy-to-use online storage solution

February 2, 2021

Residents of the Granite State have to keep track of a lot of legal forms. The state of New Hampshire has its own laws and regulations concerning medical records, trusts, probate procedures, taxes, and estate planning. Figuring out how to get through the sea of paperwork can be stressful. Fortunately, you can easily organize your important documents and make sure that you follow all of the necessary laws and procedures in the state of New Hampshire.

Essential Medical State Laws & Forms: New Hampshire

How to Get Your Medical Records in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, once a patient has been discharged from a hospital or clinic, the healthcare provider must maintain a medical record for a period of at least 7 years. You may request access or changes to your medical record at any time during this 7-year period. You may do so by contacting your healthcare provider directly or requesting a copy of the record from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Unlike many states that restrict access to spouses, parents, or blood relatives, New Hampshire has relatively lax rules regarding who can request a medical record on your behalf. Nonetheless, you will need to meet one of the following requirements to access someone else’s medical record:

  • You have the patient’s written authorization
  • You are the patient's legal guardian
  • You are the patient’s legal representative (appointed by the court)
  • The patient is under 18 and you are the parent or legal guardian
  • The patient is deceased and you are the administrator of the estate
  • The patient is deceased, has no estate administrator, and you are the surviving spouse
Learn more about your medical rights when it comes to your medical records

New Hampshire Advance Directive Laws

The Advance Directive laws of New Hampshire dictate that every “person has a right, founded in the autonomy and sanctity of the person, to control the decisions relating to the rendering of his or her own medical care.” However, New Hampshire residents also have the right to delegate the responsibility for making medicare decisions to a third party in the event that they are no longer capable to do so. Additionally, patients can make a request for their physicians to “provide, withhold, or withdraw” life-sustaining treatment if the patient becomes unconscious or near to death. Either declaration must be submitted in written form.

You can learn more about the process of submitting Advance Directives from the New Hampshire Advance Care Planning Guide.

New Hampshire Organ Donor Registry

If you’d like to become an organ donor in New Hampshire, you can do so whenever you get or update state identification (like your driver’s license). You will be given the chance to opt-in to the organ donor registry at the time that you apply for your identification. You can learn more about registering as an organ donor from the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles.

Essential New Hampshire Legal & Estate Planning Documents & Forms

Wills, Trusts, and Probate Laws in New Hampshire

Creating a will in New Hampshire is relatively easy. Though you may wish to hire a lawyer to comb over the details, you are not required by state law to hire legal help for your will. You simply need to make the necessary declarations in written form, sign the will in front of two witnesses, and have both witnesses sign the will in front of you.

However, even if a will is in place at the time of a person’s death, it doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to avoid probate court. In fact, the court will still need to ensure that the will is valid and that a designated representative enacts the last requests made in the will. The Circuit Court Probate Division handles all cases related to wills in the state of New Hampshire.

If you want to bypass the lengthy and complex probate process in New Hampshire, you can do so by creating a “living trust.” A living trust does not negate the need for a will, but it does simplify and expedite the probate procedures. However, living trusts are generally reserved for larger estates, as smaller estates can usually count on New Hampshire’s simplified probate process to make things a little easier. You can find out more about creating a living trust in New Hampshire right here

Read more about the biggest differences between a will and a trust, and why you might want to avoid New Hampshire’s stricter probate requirements when planning your estate.

New Hampshire Digital Estate Planning Laws

In 2019, the governor of New Hampshire signed SB 147 Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act into law. Like many other states that have adopted the same or similar acts, SB 147 establishes procedures for New Hampshire residents to assign beneficiaries of their digital assets. These assets can include emails, social media accounts, and virtual records and correspondence. The designated executor or fiduciary must be given express permission to store or handle digital assets in a recognized will, trust, or power of attorney. 

How to Get a Death Certificate in New Hampshire

The state of New Hampshire gives residents several options when applying for a death certificate. Applicants can request certificates by phone, fax, online via Vitalchek.com, in person, or by mail. In most cases, death certificates cost $15, plus $10 for every additional copy. Download this death certificate application form and send it to the following address:

Nashua City Clerk's Office
229 Main Street
Nashua, New Hampshire 03060

New Hampshire only allows immediate family members, legal guardians, or representatives with “a direct and tangible interest” to request death certificates. For more information on the application process, consult the Nashua City Website.

Does New Hampshire Have an Estate & Inheritance Tax?

The state of New Hampshire does not “officially” levy estate or inheritance taxes. However, New Hampshire does have a Legacy & Succession Tax. This tax applies to non-lineal descendants who acquire property or assets from a deceased person. You can learn who is exempt from this tax and get the necessary tax forms from the New Hampshire Department of Revenue

Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning in New Hampshire

The legal processes and forms in New Hampshire can seem overwhelming. The state has its own unique laws related to medical records, inheritance taxes, wills, trusts, and general estate planning. Fortunately, you can navigate these complex processes in New Hampshire with confidence by signing up for a Pillar account. With Pillar, you can scan, store, and share your most important state documents when you need them via Pillar’s secure and easy-to-use online storage tool. 

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