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Bar News - April 19, 2017

Court News: Attorneys Hope E-Filing Reduces Delay


With practice changes and electronic filing right around the corner for New Hampshire estates and probate administration, some attorneys are looking forward to shorter turnaround times that promise to reduce case delays.

“Currently the delay between filing for administration and receiving the appointment of an executor causes issues with our clients and the efficient administration of an estate,” says Bob Wells, director of the trusts and estates department at McLane Middleton. “With the proposed e-filing, we anticipate that the turnaround between filing the Petition for Administration and receiving the appointment will reduce the current delays. In addition, the Probate Court will now file the Notice to Heirs for the estate, removing one form that we had to prepare in the past. I see this as a very positive move forward for our Probate Court system.”

Electronic filing of estate cases is scheduled to start in select courts on May 23 (Brentwood, Concord, Dover and Laconia) and in others June 14 (Haverhill, Keene, Lancaster, Nashua, Newport and Ossipee).

Along with the centralization of most estate case-processing at the Electronic Filing Center in Concord, a variety of changes to estates practice will soon be implemented statewide, including electronic filing of estate cases; mailing of wills and death certificates to the Electronic Filing Center for centralized case review; a single, standardized publication fee; centralized court distribution of notice to interested parties; standardized e-filing forms; no fiduciary bond will be required for estates under $25,000; and corporate surety bonds will be mailed to a central location.

The court organized a series of regional training sessions in April for estate planning attorneys and their staff members, and the NH Bar Association has developed an E-Filing for Estates CLE program that will be held at the NH Bar Center in Concord on May 3. Register online.

In addition to these training sessions, on or before Friday, May 19, the NH Judicial Branch will post online a recorded Estate Electronic Filing Recorded Demonstration for anyone unable to attend a live training sessions. The webinar will be on the court’s Electronic Services web page.

The Electronic Services page of the NH Judicial Branch website provides e-filing resources and updates. The NH e-Court Project page on the Judicial Branch website provides a new project timeline and other resources, including an activity report.

NH Bar members can find regular updates on the status of the NH e-Court Project in Bar News and in the weekly NHBA e-Bulletin newsletter, along with any specific practice or software information provided for members by the NH Judicial Branch.

If you are in doubt about the status of any meeting, please call the Bar Center at 603-224-6942 before you head out.

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