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Informal probate is an expedited process reserved for estates with minimal assets. While the process may seem simple on the surface, it actually trades off a lot of procedure in favor of putting legal responsibility squarely on the shoulders of an estate’s representative. Any mistakes made could lead to issues with the estate’s administration, potentially even causing the representative to incur liability.

If you would like assistance with estate planning for informal probate or managing an estate as a personal representative, New Mexico Financial & Family Law is here to help. Reach out to us at (505) 886-9606 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Filing for Informal Probate in Albuquerque

Individuals can file for probate in Bernalillo County when their deceased loved one resided in the county. If the loved one resided outside of the state of New Mexico, but owned property in Bernalillo County, then their expected personal representative will be able to file probate through the Bernalillo County Probate Court.

Cases filed more than three years after the death of the decedent or where the decedent died intestate (without a will) must be instead filed through the Second Judicial District Court of New Mexico.

Bernalillo County Probate Court Contact Information

One Civic Plaza NW, 6th floor
Albuquerque, NM
Telephone: (505) 468-1229
Fax: (505) 468-1298
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday
(including during the noon – 1 p.m. lunch hour)

Second Judicial District Court Contact Information

Second Judicial District Court – Downtown Courthouse Location

Physical Address:
400 Lomas Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Phone: 505-841-8400
Mailing Address:

Civil Division, P.O. Box 488
Albuquerque, NM 87103
Telephone: (505) 841-8400
Fax: (505) 841-7495

When Is Informal Probate Allowed in Albuquerque?

“Informal” probate is considered the standard procedure in Albuquerque probate cases.

The informal probate procedure is allowed under the following circumstances:

● There are no outstanding property, heir, or creditor disputes
● The total good faith estimated value of the estate is less than $50,000
● There are no outstanding taxes that could levy the estate
● There is no need to obtain medical records or other protected records
● There is no need for a title transfer for a piece of real property, a bank account, etc.

Without these factors, probate becomes merely an administrative affair. Someone petitions to be the personal representative of the estate, and then sends notice to all the devisees, heirs, and individuals who have filed a demand for notice. A full accounting of the estate is conducted and made available upon request. Creditors may be notified and given the option to petition the estate to resolve outstanding debts. First, the Family Allowance and Personal Property Allowances are paid, as are administration costs. Then, any creditors or other outstanding estate claims are resolved.

Once this process is completed, the probating of the will is considered complete, and the probate case is closed. At this point, the personal representative of the estate may begin distributing assets according to the instructions of the decedent’s will.

Is Informal Probate in Albuquerque Right for Me?

If there is a clearly worded will and a clear path forward for managing creditor claims and other estate matters, informal probate is preferable to both the personal representative of the estate and the local government. It saves you time and money and reduces the load of the entire case significantly.

In many cases, informal probate allows you to settle all matters involving the estate and then close probate in a smooth, painless process.

At the same time, not every estate meets the above criteria. You may have heirs disputing the validity of the will or the wording of the will’s instructions. You may encounter a piece of titled property that must be transferred, or you may find yourself in need of requesting a protected record related to the decedent’s past. You may also have complicated creditor disputes that could require court intervention to fully resolve.

Working With an Albuquerque Informal Probate Attorney

Probate judges and local court administrators are limited in their ability to conduct certain legal activities related to probate. It may be possible that your case is more complicated than the informal probate procedure implies, and in these instances, judges and court employees are legally forbidden from providing legal advice.

You will also have to make key decisions during the probate process, including deciding when to close probate and begin distributing the estate’s assets.

Because of these complexities, the Bernalillo County Probate Court says, “it is highly recommended that you seek competent legal advice on any of these matters.”

What Are The Steps to Informal Probate in Albuquerque?

Informal probate is a process whereby the court validates a will and appoints an executor without requiring formal proceedings. This type of probate is typically quicker and less expensive than formal probate, making it an attractive option for many people.
A typical informal probate process goes through the following steps:

The first step is to file a petition with the court.

Filing a petition with the court is an essential first step for anyone embarking on a legal process. It is important to provide accurate and thorough details on the petition; this will ensure that there are no delays or issues. The court must be made aware of all information relating to the case so that it can form an accurate evaluation before making a decision on how the case will be handled. As experienced legal professionals, we have the knowledge and familiarity required to assist clients in filing petitions with accuracy and diligence, allowing for a smooth process beyond this initial step.

You will need to provide the court with certain information about the deceased person and their estate.

When dealing with a court case related to the estate of a deceased person, you need to be prepared to provide necessary documentation and detailed records. Bank statements, will documents, and an inventory of their assets should all form part of the submitted material that is requested for review by the court.
Additionally, as per legal requirements in most countries, confirmation of death including a doctor’s certificate or a death certificate should also be provided. It is important that all documents be organized in such a way as to enable easy filing and cross-referencing by the court for better efficiency and accuracy. Taking this approach can help to bring closure to heirs by expediting the process.

After the petition is filed, the court will issue an order appointing you as the personal representative of the estate.

After filing the petition, the court will try to take prompt action and issue an order officially appointing you as the personal representative of the estate. If this is the case, you will now be legally designated to manage all aspects of the estate’s affairs, ensuring that it is distributed in accordance with the decedent’s wishes.
It is important to understand the responsibility involved in being an estate representative, as any mistakes may result in your personal liability for damages. As such, retaining a qualified attorney to advise and guide you throughout this process can help ensure that you are compliant with all applicable probate laws and regulations.

Once you have been appointed, you will need to give notice to all interested parties, including creditors of the estate.

Once you have been appointed as personal representative of the estate, it is necessary to provide notice to all parties and creditors. All notifications should be in writing and include details on the assets of the estate, and the right to challenge any statements made in the notice.
It is important that due diligence is exercised when giving notice, as failure to do so may result in a personal representative being held personally liable for any debts or damages arising from said creditors. Effectively carrying out this stage will ensure all interested parties are aware of their standing with respect to the estate distribution.

You will then need to collect and inventory all of the assets of the estate.

Once entered into probate, the will needs to be legally validated, and estate assets must be collected and inventoried to carry out the testator’s wishes. As such, it is the responsibility of lawyers involved in an estate case to ensure that all assets are identified, listed, and accounted for in preparation for potential disputes or taxation. Historically, this was once a slow process conducted manually, but with advances in technology, new digital tracking systems can provide quick, accurate records of all estate possessions within minutes. The lawyer can then proceed to execute any necessary legal action on behalf of their client.

Once all assets have been collected, you will need to pay any debts and liabilities of the estate.

After all potential assets have been located and properly collected, the executor of an estate must address any unpaid debts or liabilities. It is important to consult with a legal professional regarding the payment of these obligations, as doing so in accordance with applicable laws is essential to ensuring that all creditors are compensated in a fair and reasonable manner.
Also, failure to pay liabilities may prompt creditors to initiate collection proceedings against the estate. Estate representatives, therefore, should determine the best course of action for paying creditors, taking into account any estate revenue on hand as well as any required deductions from asset proceeds before disbursing funds.

Reach Out to Experienced Albuquerque Probate Lawyers

The steps to administering a probate estate may seem daunting, but our experienced attorneys can guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and we will handle your case with compassion and care. If you need assistance administering a probate estate, please call us at (505) 886-9606 or contact us online.

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