Bill Details - HB305 (2019)

HB 305 - AS INTRODUCED

 

 

2019 SESSION

19-0415

04/03

 

HOUSE BILL 305

 

AN ACT relative to the duties of the registers of probate.

 

SPONSORS: Rep. Horrigan, Straf. 6; Rep. Hopper, Hills. 2; Sen. Gray, Dist 6

 

COMMITTEE: Judiciary

 

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ANALYSIS

 

This bill modifies the duties of the register of probate.

 

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

19-0415

04/03

 

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

 

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen

 

AN ACT relative to the duties of the registers of probate.

 

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

 

1  Taxation of Transfers of Certain Estates; Notifying Department of Revenue Administration.  Amend RSA 87:21 to read as follows:

87:21  Notifying Department of Revenue Administration.  The [clerk] register of probate shall notify the department of revenue administration, within 30 days after the expiration of the 3-month period under RSA 87:18, of the failure of any executor, administrator, or trustee to file such inventory and appraisal.

2  Taxation of Transfers of Certain Estates; Copies to Department of Revenue Administration.  Amend RSA 87:22 to read as follows:

87:22  Copies to Department of Revenue Administration.  The [clerk] register of probate shall send to the department of revenue administration, by mail, a copy of every will within 7 days after it is filed, unless notified by the department of revenue administration that such copies will not be required.  The [clerk] register of probate shall also furnish such copies of papers, and such information as to the records and files in his or her office, in such form as the department of revenue administration may require.  A refusal or neglect of the [clerk] register of probate to send such copies or to furnish such information shall be a breach of his or her official bond.

3  Taxation of Transfers of Certain Estates; Certificate and Receipt.  Amend RSA 87:26 to read as follows:

87:26  Certificate and Receipt.  A certificate from the department of revenue administration verifying that the required returns have been filed and the amount of the self-assessed tax reported has been paid may be requested by the executor, administrator, the register of probate, the clerk, or the judge of the probate court having jurisdiction over the estate.

4  Testate or Intestate.  Amend RSA 151-A:15, I to read as follows:

I.  If within 30 days after the date of a testate or intestate patient's death in any nursing home no petition for probate has been filed under any section of RSA 553 and the gross value of the personal property remaining at the nursing home belonging to the deceased, including any amount left in a patient account, is no more than $5,000, the nursing home administrator shall file [in] with the register of probate [court] in the county where the nursing home is located an affidavit for the purpose of disposing of such deceased patient's estate.  The form of the affidavit, and the rules governing proceedings under this section, shall be provided by the probate court pursuant to RSA 547:33.  The nursing home administrator shall not file a death certificate with the probate court, but shall attest to the death in the affidavit.  If the nursing home patient died testate and if the nursing home administrator has the will or a copy of the will, the nursing home administrator shall file the same [in] with the register of probate [court] in the county where the nursing home is located.  [The probate court shall waive all filing fees] No filing under this section shall be subject to the probate court fees of RSA 490:27.

5  Circuit Court; Locations.  Amend the introductory paragraph of RSA 490-F:4 to read as follows:

490-F:4  Circuit Court Locations.  The judicial districts for the district and family divisions shall be as set forth in RSA 502-A:1 and RSA 490-D:4, respectively, and each county shall be a judicial district for the probate division.  The supreme court may, from time to time, establish other locations for each of the divisions.  The probate court records shall be maintained [at the circuit court site]  by the register of probate and the deputy registers of probate at each county seat.  The circuit courts shall be as follows:

6  Circuit Court Clerks; Appointment.  Amend RSA 490-F:13 to read as follows:

490-F:13  Circuit Court Clerks; Appointment.  The administrative judge of the circuit court shall appoint a clerk with responsibility for each circuit court site.  In the interest of the effective administration of justice, any such clerk may have responsibility for one or more circuit court locations.  Circuit court clerks shall have the same duties as clerks of the former district court and judicial branch family division and [as] shall coordinate scheduling with the registers of probate [with the exception of RSA 15-B, RSA 456-B, RSA 548, RSA 653, RSA 655, and RSA 661 which shall remain as duties of the registers of probate] to insure timely judicial action of probate matters.  Circuit court clerks shall hold office at the pleasure of the administrative judge of the circuit court.

7  Circuit Court Staff.  Amend RSA 400-F:14 to read as follows:

490-F:14  Staff.  The administrative judge of the circuit court shall identify a mechanism by which to [assign] identify and transfer existing staff and equipment in the [probate and district courts and in the judicial branch family division to operate the] circuit court to the counties for use of the register of probate.  The number of circuit court staff shall be based upon a review of anticipated caseload, population, available staff resources, and other relevant criteria, including information from any weighted caseload system.

8  Probate Court Fees.  RSA 490:27  is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

490:27  Probate Court Fees.  The following fees shall be paid to the clerk of the circuit court:

I.  A court fee established by the supreme court under RSA 490:26-a for the benefit of the state.

II.  The sum of $5 for each entry fee collected to be deposited in the mediation and arbitration fund established under RSA 490-E:4.

III.  A register of probate fee established by the governor and executive council for the benefit of the county.  The clerk of the circuit court shall transfer the register of probate fees collected not less than quarterly to the appropriate county.

9  Judges of Probate and Their Jurisdiction; Records.  Amend RSA 547:27-b, I to read as follows:

I.  The register of probate [court] shall appropriately retain all wills and their probate; all proceedings with regard to real estate; all accounts settled, and all orders, decisions, and appointments from which an appeal may be claimed.

10  Judges of Probate and Their Jurisdiction; Probate Court Entry Fees.  Amend RSA  547:27-c, I to read as follows:

I.  Probate division entry fees as established by the supreme court under RSA 490:26-a shall be paid to the clerk of each applicable circuit court established in RSA 490-F for the benefit of the state.

11  New Section; Registers of Probate; Office Hours.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 2 the following new section:

548:2-a  Office Hours.  Every probate office shall be open for business in accordance with such procedures as may be established by the county commissioners.

12  New Section;  Registers of Probate; Scheduling.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 4-a  the following new section:

548:4-b  Scheduling.  The registers of probate for each court shall coordinate the scheduling of all cases and matters to be held in the county with the circuit court clerk of such county.

13  Registers of Probate; Records  RSA 548:5 is repealed and reenacted to read as follows:

548:5  Records.  The register shall appropriately record all wills and their probate; all proceedings with regard to real estate; all accounts settled, and all orders, decisions, and appointments from which an appeal may be claimed.  The register may, in addition to or in lieu of other recording, cause the originals of documents filed to be copied and preserved in a manner provided in the retention and destruction schedule described in RSA 548:6-a.

14  New Section; Registers of Probate; Destruction of Records.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 6 the following new section:

548:6-a  Destruction of Records.  The probate court, subject to the approval of the supreme court, shall establish retention and destruction schedules for those original files, papers, and records in cases and matters disposed of by the court.  The probate court shall be responsible for the implementation of the schedules and for directing that any files having the potential for historical significance shall be preserved or given to any public historical society or corporation organized for the preservation of historical documents.  The schedule may provide for original records to be sent to the records center established under RSA 5.

15  New Section; Registers of Probate; Record of Decedent's Real Estate.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 7-a the following new section:

548:7-b  Record of Decedent's Real Estate.  Whenever it appears from the inventory or any other instrument pertaining to real estate filed with the register of probate in connection with the administration of any estate that the estate contains real estate located in another county within the state, the register of probate shall notify within 15 days, the register of deeds of the county in which the real estate lies of the name and date of death of the decedent.  A register of deeds who receives such a notice shall record in the grantor's index of his office the name of the decedent, his or her date of death, and the county in which the estate is being probated.  The cost for filing said notice shall be assigned to the estate.

16  New Sections; Registers of Probate; Additional Deputy Registers.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 14-b the following new sections:

548:14-c  Deputy Registers.  Registers of probate may appoint deputies to perform the duties of their office in case of sickness or the temporary absence of the officer making the appointment.  Such appointment shall be made in writing and shall be for a length of time not exceeding 2 years.  The deputy shall be qualified in the same manner as the appointing officer.

548:14-d  Additional Deputy Registers.  The registers may appoint sufficient deputies to assist them in the performance of their functions; however, in no instance shall such an appointment entitle the person appointed to additional compensation.

17  New Section; Registers of Probate; Disability of Register.  Amend RSA 548 by inserting after section 16 the following new section:

548:16-a  Disability of Register.  When the register, by reason of sickness, absence, or other cause, is disabled from executing the duties of his or her office, the deputy shall execute the same until such disability is removed or a register is chosen in accordance with the provisions of the statutes.

18  Registers of Probate; Salaries.  Amend RSA 548:17 to read as follows:

548:17  Salaries.  The annual salary of the registers of probate and all deputy registers shall be [$100 per year] as specified in the county budget.

19  New Sections; Registers of Probate; Receipt.  Amend RSA  548 by inserting after section  23-a the following new sections:

548:23-b  Probate Division Entry Fees.  

I.  Entry fees established by the county commissioners shall be paid to the register of probate for the benefit of the state.

II.  The register shall set aside $3 of each entry fee paid into the court for deposit into a special escrow account established under RSA 490:26-c   

548:23-c  Receipt.  Every register, upon request, shall give a receipt for all fees received for copies, stating the amount received and identifying the item copied.

20  New Section; Probate Courts and Decedents' Estates; Publication of Notice Electronically.  Amend RSA 550 by inserting after section 10 the following new section:

550:10-a  Publication of Notice Electronically.  In addition to the requirements of RSA 550:10, the register of probate shall cause notice to be posted on the probate court public website at least 2 weeks before any hearing or proceeding.  The register of probate may publish in one notice the necessary information pertaining to more than one estate, provided, however, that each separate subject matter such as the appointment of a fiduciary, a hearing on an account, a hearing on a license to sell real estate, or any other designated subject matter shall have a specific designation within each such notice.

21  Probate Courts and Decedents' Estates; Inventory.  Amend RSA 554:1, I  to read as follows:

I.  Every administrator shall file under the penalties of law, with the [court] register of probate, within 90 days after the date of appointment, a full, true, and itemized inventory of all the estate of the decedent which has come to the administrator's knowledge.  If an administrator fails to file an inventory within 30 days after the required filing date, the administrator is in default.  The [clerk] register of probate shall give notice of the default to the administrator by first class mail within 10 days after the default.  [The clerk] If the administrator fails to file or to show good cause, the register of probate shall notify the judge of probate who shall issue a citation notice in accordance with RSA 554:26-a.  The inventory shall contain a detailed itemized list of all real and personal property and the fair market values thereof as of the decedent's date of death, and how such value was determined, whether by appraisal, tax information, bank statement or other source.  It shall be an unsworn falsification punishable pursuant to RSA 641:3 for the administrator to make a false statement on the inventory.

22  Probate Courts and Decedents' Estates; Record of Decedent's Real Estates.  Amend RSA  554:14-a to read as follows:

554:14-a  Record of Decedent's Real Estate.  Whenever it appears from the inventory or any other instrument pertaining to real estate filed with the [court] register of probate in connection with the administration of any estate that the estate contains real estate located in another county within the state, the [court] register of probate shall notify, within 15 days, the register of deeds of the county in which the real estate lies of the name and date of death of the decedent.  A register of deeds who receives such a notice shall record in the grantor's index of the register's office the name of the decedent, the decedent's date of death, and the county in which the estate is being probated.  The cost for filing said notice shall be assigned to the estate.

23  Probate Courts and Decedents' Estates; Notice to Fiduciaries.  Amend RSA 554:26-a to read as follows:

554:26-a  Notice to Fiduciaries.

I.  A fiduciary appointed by the probate court shall file, as required by law, an inventory within 90 days after the date of appointment, or an account of administration within one year after the date of appointment.  If a fiduciary fails to file an inventory within 30 days after the required filing date, or an account of administration within 90 days after the required filing date, the fiduciary is in default.  The [clerk of the applicable circuit court established in RSA 490-F] register of probate shall give notice of the default to the fiduciary by first class mail within 10 days after the default.  In the case of any inventory, account, annual report, statement of voluntary administration, or waiver of administration affidavit, the fiduciary shall either file the inventory, account, annual report, statement of voluntary administration, or waiver of administration affidavit, or show good cause for the failure to file, within 30 days after notice of the default from the clerk.  If the fiduciary fails to file or to show good cause, the register of probate shall notify the judge of probate who shall issue a citation to the fiduciary to appear before the judge pursuant to RSA 550:2.  The fiduciary shall pay default and citation fees as established by the supreme court under RSA 490:26-a to the [clerk] register of probate, pursuant to RSA 490:27.  The requirements of this section shall apply to fiduciaries previously appointed as the judges of probate may prescribe by rules adopted pursuant to RSA 547:33.

II.  The [clerk] register of probate shall contemporaneously with the issuance of any citation pursuant to paragraph I and RSA 550:2 send a copy of such citation by first class mail to the following:

(a)  Any surety for the fiduciary;

(b)  Any person who has filed an appearance; and

(c)  Any residuary beneficiary, and the director of charitable trusts in cases involving charitable dispositions and trusts.

24  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2020.

Docket

Date Status
Jan. 2, 2019 Introduced 01/02/2019 and referred to Judiciary HJ 2 P. 44
Jan. 16, 2019 Public Hearing: 01/16/2019 10:30 am LOB208
Jan. 22, 2019 ==CANCELLED== Executive Session: 01/22/2019 01:00 pm LOB 208
March 5, 2019 Executive Session: 03/05/2019 11:00 am LOB 208
Retained in Committee

Action Dates

Date Body Type
Jan. 16, 2019 House Hearing
Jan. 22, 2019 House Exec Session
March 5, 2019 House Exec Session

Bill Text Revisions

HB305 Revision: 4550 Date: Dec. 31, 2018, 9:11 a.m.