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If you have recently experienced the death of a loved one or close family member in Albuquerque, you will likely have to undergo probate. Probate is a process necessary for reviewing the assets in an estate, giving creditors the chance to reclaim unpaid debt, resolving any disputes, and ultimately consenting to the distribution of assets. Whether or not an individual has a will, their estate must undergo probate (although an expedited probate process may apply).

Albuquerque locals going through a loss have enough on their minds without having to learn a completely new legal process and all the laws it entails. Named representatives of the estate will have to undergo the full procedure, whereby they must notify all named beneficiaries and creditors before administrating their respective requests. It is also possible to contest a will during probate, allowing someone who feels that the will should be invalidated for reasons such as undue influence to have their day in court.

In any matter of succession or estate administration, New Mexico Financial & Family Law can provide invaluable assistance. Our decades of experience as Albuquerque probate lawyers give you the legal advantage of extensive knowledge and comprehensive case management. We work closely with our clientele, keeping them informed of their rights, obligations, and options during every step of the process.

Learn how we can assist you, and get answers to your questions about filing probate in Albuquerque. We provide no-risk, confidential case reviews and are available to you for a variety of legal services. Call (505) 933-7625 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.

What You Need To Know About Probate Law

Probate law is a branch of civil law that deals with the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person. It can involve distributing assets to heirs, settling unpaid debts, and identifying and inventorying the estate’s property. The probate process can be an overwhelming and complicated endeavor for families who are grieving the loss of a loved one. However, it is a formal process needed in the case of many estates to ensure that creditor requests are honored, concerns of interested parties are heard, and the estate is managed properly following the death of a loved one.

Note that there are ways a person can avoid making their family or associates go through formal probate by placing their holdings in trust prior to their death. See below for more information on informal probate.

What Is Involved in Probate Law?

The main purpose of probate law is to manage the estate of someone who has passed away. This process includes inventorying all assets that belong to the decedent, paying any outstanding debts, distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries, and filing any necessary tax returns or other documents that may be required. In some cases, probate may also involve contesting or defending claims against the estate by creditors or others with an interest in it. Probate lawyers provide guidance on these issues as well as managing court proceedings related to them.

In addition to managing these legal matters, probate attorneys also provide emotional support for those involved in the probate process. They understand how overwhelming and stressful this time can be for families, so they are there to answer questions and advise on estate administration matters. They also work closely with executors or administrators (the people designated to handle the decedent’s affairs) to ensure everything is done correctly and according to state laws.

Another important part of probate law is asset protection planning. This involves creating strategies for protecting assets from creditors or potential lawsuits before the death of the testator (the person creating a will). Asset protection planning should take into consideration both federal and state laws, as well as any applicable tax rules or regulations. An experienced attorney can help you create a plan that works best for you while ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

Probate law is an important legal process designed to ensure that a deceased person’s wishes are fulfilled while also protecting their remaining assets from creditors or potential lawsuits after death. It involves working closely with executors or administrators and providing emotional support during this difficult time for families involved in the process. Additionally, asset protection planning should be considered when creating strategies for protecting your own assets after you pass away. Experienced attorneys can provide invaluable guidance in navigating these complex issues so that your legacy is secure for generations to come.

Types of Probate Procedures

There are different types of probate procedures in Albuquerque, and which one is right for you will depend on the individual situation.

Here, we’ll outline the four main types of probate so that you can get a better sense of what each may involve for the person planning their estate or the representative taking the estate through probate. Whether you’re looking to probate a will or estate, or administer an intestate estate, understanding these options is crucial.

Formal Probate

Formal probate in Albuquerque involves a court-supervised process to administrate a will and ultimately distribute property once someone has passed away. This process is necessary when an individual does not place their assets in a trust or otherwise exceeds the threshold needed to qualify for informal probate.

During formal probate, the validity of a will is considered, and all claims against the estate are resolved prior to the close of probate and the distribution of assets. It is vital to ensure that all interested parties are present during this process so that potential obstacles can be identified and accounted for accordingly. Notice should be sent out to all beneficiaries of the estate as well as any outstanding creditors. If you live in Albuquerque and need assistance with formal probate proceedings, please do not hesitate to contact a qualified local attorney for assistance.

Informal Probate

Informal probate in Albuquerque is a streamlined process used by the court when there are limited assets placed in the decedent’s estate. It is an alternative to formal probate, and it is normally used when there is no conflict between heirs, assets are minimal, and all legal paperwork has been completed properly.

Informal probate can be beneficial because it allows for a faster resolution due to its simplified procedure. Additionally, all assets not going through probate can be kept private, whereas the contents of an estate being formally probated may become public knowledge.

While informal probate simplifies the process, proper filing of each document in the proper order is extremely important, or the process may be slowed down or delayed. Quality legal representation is also needed, as errors during this process may prove costly to the estate or its beneficiaries.

Intestate Succession Probate

“Intestacy” is a legal term used to describe estates where an individual passes away without executing a will or without a will that can be validated.

In Albuquerque, intestate succession is governed by Section 45-2-101 NMSA 1978. Generally speaking, the procedure requires a petition to be filed in the District Court of the county in which the deceased was domiciled at death or any portion of their assets are located.

The court’s role in an intestate case is to determine whether any assets are subject to the intestate succession laws and, if so, who is entitled to receive them. Following this determination and filing required notices with creditors and interested parties, the court will generally enter an order authorizing distribution according to intestacy law. Generally speaking, when a valid will is not present, all assets will be inherited by the decedent’s spouse, surviving children, or closest family members.

The intestate probate process can sometimes take months to complete, as it depends on several factors, including asset value and availability of interested family members for notice and administration purposes.

Contested Probate

Contested probate matters in Albuquerque can be highly complex and involve a variety of legal issues.

A contested probate proceeding is an adversarial process initiated by an individual filing a complaint to dispute the validity of a will or an estate administration. In these proceedings, substantial evidence must be presented by all parties, court rules and procedures must be followed, and other detailed information must be considered.

To ensure the best outcome possible, it is advisable to work with an experienced attorney knowledgeable in the field of probate law in Albuquerque.

Family Allowance in Probate

In Albuquerque, a family allowance is a payment made available to certain family members of a decedent’s estate during probate proceedings, which is considered separate from the inheritances granted by the will.

By law, families of the deceased are allowed a reasonable sum of money. This allowance is issued as an advance of any funds designated for these individuals in the will or intestate succession laws. It can be adjusted downwards if necessary due to insufficient assets being discovered by the court.

Legal counsel must be obtained when determining eligibility and/or requesting this distribution. Proper legal advice can ensure that an adequate amount of funds are secured for the survivors involved during this difficult time.

Filing Probate in Albuquerque

The majority of Albuquerque probate cases will be handled in Bernalillo County. The Bernalillo County probate office is located on the 6th floor of the One Civic Plaza building in downtown Albuquerque.

The address for the Albuquerque probate court office is as follows:

One Civic Plaza NW, 6th floor
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Telephone: (505) 468.1234
Fax: (505) 468-1298


You may also have the option of filing your case within the 2nd District Court, depending on your circumstances. Examples of reasons for filing in the District Court include a decedent who passed more than three years ago or a case where the original will of the decedent cannot be located.

Albuquerque Probate Process

The process of filing for probate as the legal representative of the decedent’s estate involves multiple steps.

1. Identify all heirs and creditors
2. File application to be named as the personal representative of the estate
3. Determine if you are eligible for the shortened informal probate process (assets not held in trust must be less than $50,000)
4. Notify all devisees, heirs, and those who have a demand for notice within 30 days of appointment as the personal representative
5. Perform a full inventory of assets held in the estate
6. Ensure the family allowance and personal property allowances have been granted
7. Pay the costs and expenses of administrating the estate
8. Pay any outstanding claims from creditors, and address dispute claims
9. Prepare a full accounting of the administration
10. Close probate once the requirements in the Verified Statement are met

The majority of the probate process is self-guided, meaning the appointed personal administrator of the estate must ensure they make no mistakes and fully follow the procedure. This prospect can be overwhelming, especially if there are questions or concerns. Estates with multiple creditor claims or disputed aspects must resolve these matters within the appropriate timeframe before the remaining assets can be distributed. The decedent may also have died without a valid will or an up-to-date will, meaning some or all of their assets will be distributed through the intestate succession laws.

Overall, going through probate without the assistance of an experienced Albuquerque probate attorney can involve significant amounts of stress and time. There may also be legal questions, and without the right guidance, it is possible for a disputing claim to override your intentions.

Reach out to our experienced probate lawyers in Albuquerque to get the assistance you need in order to lower your stress and ensure the wishes of your loved one are carried through.

Work With Experienced Probate Attorneys in Albuquerque

New Mexico Financial & Family Law has helped generations of estate representatives and family members complete the probate process. If you are currently entering into probate or have questions about estate planning, contact us to schedule a no-risk consultation.

Call (505) 933-7625 or contact us online to schedule your appointment with an Albuquerque probate lawyer today.

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