Probate & Trust Litigation

A resource for lawyers and the public in Massachusetts and New Hampshire for information on will contests, trust disputes, guardianships, conservatorships, elder exploitation, fiduciary duty claims, and other probate litigation disputes.

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Will Contests

This Law Summary is designed to educate you on structure and filing for Will Contests in New Hampshire.  The full document is available for download at left.  A party is “interested” and has standing to initiate a will contest if the “‘aggrieved person … is one who has a direct pecuniary interest in the estate of the … testator which will be impaired if the instrument in question is held to be a valid will.’ Furthermore, the ‘interest which [the] person must possess … is such that if he prevails in the contest he will be entitled to a distributive share in the testator’s estate.’ In other words, a will contestant must generally have some direct legal or equitable interest in the decedent’s estate.” In re Estate of Kelly, 130 N.H. 773, 777 – 78 (1988) (quoting, W. Treat, 3 New Hampshire Practice, Probate Law 1037 at 62 (1968)); see Rogers v. Whitney Estate, 105 N.H. 95 (1963) (trust beneficiary whose rights under a trust would be vacated by allowance of will had standing to contest will); Swan v. Bailey, 84 N.H. 73, 74 (1929) (presumptive heir of incompetent legatee did not have because he had no direct rights in the testator’s estate whether or not the will was upheld).

(Note: Ralph Holmes is currently retired from McLane Middleton. For information on this or other probate litigation issues, please contact Alexandra Cote at