In New Mexico, estate planning is a crucial step people should take to prepare for an uncertain future. While some individuals may believe they don’t possess significant assets, the truth is that everyone wants their belongings adjudicated and their final wishes fulfilled upon their passing. It is where an estate planning attorney in Gallup comes in and adds value.

Additionally, planning for situations where you might become incapacitated due to a medical condition is essential. In such instances, a designated agent with a special power of attorney is necessary.

Moreover, having an advanced directive (often called a “living will”) allows the agent and close family members to consult a document that guides critical life decisions. This comprehensive approach ensures your wishes are respected during your lifetime and after you’ve passed away.

estate planning attorney in Gallup

Simplified Explanation of Probate Law

According to a Gallup estate planning attorney, probate is a legal process where the court reviews a person’s will to ensure it’s valid and determines how to settle debts and other claims. It does so while respecting the instructions in the will.

Most of the probate work is carried out by a person appointed by the court, often based on the deceased person’s wishes or other relevant factors. This representative is responsible for notifying creditors, covering estate management costs, providing allowances to the family, and overseeing property transfers as outlined in the will.

An estate planning attorney in Gallup, NM, guides the legal representative and the testator’s family. In cases where there are disputes or questions about how to pay specific claims when there’s limited money available, the court may step in to make decisions.

Types of Probate Procedures in New Mexico

Probate procedures in New Mexico come in various forms, depending on the specific circumstances. Your lawyer can help with these probate matters:

  • Formal Probate

This process is necessary when beneficiaries have disputes about asset distribution, will language, or creditor payments. It involves a court hearing where a judge resolves conflicts and approves actions. The parties involved are represented by an estate planning attorney in Gallup, New Mexico.

  • Informal Probate

It is used when heirs cooperate with no creditor issues or expected conflicts. Intestate Succession happens when someone passes away without a will, and New Mexico’s rules dictate how the estate is divided.

  • Contested Probate

When beneficiaries, creditors, or third parties disagree, it causes disruptions in the probate process.

  • Family Allowance in Probate

New Mexico’s law provides a family allowance of $30,000 to a surviving spouse. If there’s no surviving spouse, minors and dependent children share this allowance equally.

Is It Mandatory for All Estates to Undergo Probate?

While you’ll need the services of an estate planning attorney in Gallup, NM, not all estates and wills have to go through the probate process. If you’re concerned about probate’s complexity, stress, and cost, your loved one’s estate might not necessitate formal probate proceedings.

The complete probate process is usually reserved for estates that involve disputes among beneficiaries, unresolved creditor matters, or uncertainties regarding the distribution of limited assets while striving to uphold the wishes of the deceased person as closely as feasible.

Determining whether your case requires complete probate can be challenging without the guidance of an experienced Gallup estate planning attorney. While it’s true that creditors and other claimants have a limited timeframe to file claims against the estate, some claims related to specific property can be raised three years after the decedent’s passing.

To ensure thoroughness, the goal is to address all essential estate management tasks, settle priority claims, and eliminate concerns about unexpected legal issues. Consulting with an experienced probate law attorney is crucial, as it offers peace of mind and allows you to honor the decedent’s wishes.

Exemptions to the Probate Process

Consult with a law office in Gallup, NM, on these circumstances where you may not need to go through probate:

Affidavit Transfer

If the estate’s value is $50,000 or less, or if the primary residence was jointly owned with a living spouse valued at $500,000, you can use an affidavit instead of probate to transfer property.

No Contest or Creditor Claims

Wills without disputes or creditor claims can skip formal probate.

Property in Trust

Property placed in a living trust isn’t considered part of the estate and doesn’t require probate. Consult a seasoned Gallup estate planning attorney for guidance.

Transfer Upon Death Assets

Some assets, like certain accounts, securities, and property deeds, can have a “transfer upon death” designation. It means they pass to someone else without needing a will or probate.

Named Beneficiaries

Benefits from accounts with named beneficiaries, such as life insurance policies or retirement accounts, go directly to the named beneficiary, bypassing probate.

Consult With an Experienced Probate Lawyer

Cristy J. Carbón-Gaul is here to provide expert guidance on all probate-related matters. She understands that probate laws can be intricate, and just when you think everything is in order, unexpected priority claims may arise.

Seek a dedicated and experienced estate planning attorney in Gallup to simplify these processes. After losing a loved one, your primary aim is to honor their wishes and return to as normal a life as possible. Achieve these objectives and effectively address any challenges with the support of a probate law attorney.

Call us today and get a free case consultation.