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Probate Law in New Mexico

Probate Law in New Mexico – what is the legal process?

an image of a last will and testament

Probate is simply a legal process, supervised by the courts, in which a person’s property is allocated after death. The State of New Mexico has simplified the probate process. If a will exists, a personal representative or executor of the will may distribute the assets of the estate based on the instructions of the will. If there is no will the property will be distributed under New Mexico’s intestate succession law.

If the estate is well organized, simple and there are no unexpected claims or challenges, the personal representative can file the probate on their own. But normally an attorney will handle the probate by filing the necessary papers on behalf of the personal representative.

During a formal probate, all heirs should be notified and a hearing held before a personal representative is appointed. If it is an informal probate, the notice will be sent to all heirs after a personal representative is appointed.

In order to probate the will and for the beneficiaries to receive their bequests, all creditors of the deceased must be paid in full and an inventory of assets and property completed. Once this is concluded and everyone is in agreement, any real property is transferred and deeds are recorded, assets are distributed and a final income tax return prepared.

What is the time line for probate?

New Mexico probates take around two years to complete. However, the majority of the work is usually done in the first few months. A Family Lawyer will know which steps to take to help reduce the amount of time it takes to probate a will by filing the necessary paperwork in the early stages.

The State of New Mexico has worked hard to make probate easier to families. The forms for a straight forward, uncontested probate are available on the website of the Supreme Court of New Mexico. Probate judges and clerks have been known to go out of their way to help families during this difficult time. But still, probate can place a lot of heartache on the families of the deceased.

Probate is rarely a simple matter. Many times the will is outdated or there is no legal representative named. Relatives, who are not mentioned in the will might file a challenge or dispute. There can be conflicting claims for property and assets or new debts may surface.

If this is the case, an experienced professional lawyer can assist yourfamily to find the best and least costly solutions.

PJ Hartman is am a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the New Mexico Collaborative Practice Group and a co-founder of the Southwest Collaborative Divorce Law Group.