Legal Memorandum: Interest on Inheritance Advances

Issue: Is there authority in New Hampshire or elsewhere that dictates under what circumstances interest should be charged on inheritance advances and at what rate?

Area of Law: Estate Planning & Probate
Keywords: Inheritance advances; Interest
Jurisdiction: New Hampshire
Cited Cases: 179 A. 343
Cited Statutes: 34 C.J.S. § 542 (1998); 3 Am. Jur. 2d Advancements § 63 (1986)
Date: 08/01/2000

There is no support for the argument that when the executor gives an heir to the estate and advancement on his or her share, the heir should pay interest.  When the executor has made an advancement or disbursement to a distributee in good faith, even if in error, the amount of the advance is deducted from the distributee’s portion of the estate.  34 C.J.S. § 542 (1998).  There is no authority for deducting interest, as well.  Even when the executor erroneously conveys to the heirs a larger amount than their shares because of a mistake of law, that higher amount is not recoverable.  Harding v. Hewes, 179 A. 343, 344 (N.H. 1935).  A very general rule states that because an advancement is in the nature of a gift, no interest should be charged on an advancement.  See 3 Am. Jur. 2d Advancements § 63 (1986).  To charge interest would be to convert the advancement from a gift into a loan, defeating the purpose of an advancement.  Id.


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