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Informal probate is a simplified process of executing a will, managing estate claims, and distributing properties to beneficiaries in accordance with the decedent’s wishes. When informal probate is used, the whole process of managing an estate after the owner’s death is simplified. It is also expedited, allowing the property to be distributed in a quicker time and at a lower cost.

The majority of probate cases in New Mexico will be conducted through informal probate. Estates are eligible for probate when all assets held within it amount to less than $50,000. Keep in mind that assets in transfer upon death accounts, jointly owned property and property held in trust will not be added to the estate’s value. Thus, with careful estate planning, a person planning for the end of their life can help their family avoid the more complex probate procedure.

Informal probate is also only available when there are no disputes or contesting claims.

At New Mexico Financial & Family Law, we listen carefully to your case and devise a sound plan of action to help you maneuver through probate as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible. At every turn, we seek to protect your interests and minimize conflicts to ensure probate commences smoothly.

For more information on probate and how to simplify it, reach out to us to speak to informal probate lawyers near you. We can provide you with a no-obligation consultation when you call us at (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.

New Mexico Informal Probate Steps

In an informal probate, beneficiaries are notified after a personal representative has been named. Informal probate is best used when heirs get along and you have no reason to think there will be any future conflicts. These are the basic steps involved in the informal probate process:

  1. The will of the deceased names a personal representative or someone files an application with the local probate court to serve as the “personal representative.”
  2. Notice is sent out to heirs after the appointment of the personal representative and is often published in the local news media.
  3. Creditors are identified and paid.
  4. Property and assets are inventoried and appraised.
  5. Once bills and debts are paid, the remaining assets are distributed among beneficiaries.

Most probates are informal. We can assess your situation and determine if informal probate is right for you.

Issues That Can Complicate Probate

A well-organized estate plan can greatly increase the chances of a straightforward probate process. However, probate can become challenging when the following issues exist:

  • Lack of personal representative named — One of the most important things a testator (person drafting their own will) can do is to name a personal representative. This alone can significantly reduce the number of potential disputes that may arise. Without a personal representative named, beneficiaries may bicker and delay probate.
  • Will is outdated — An outdated will that fails to address life events will almost certainly lead to some level of contention among heirs.
  • Conflicting property claims exist — When multiple heirs lay claim to the same property, sometimes the court’s assistance is needed to settle probate. These disputes are resolved through a formal probate procedure.

In many cases, ensuring smooth probate lies in the hands of the testator. Whether you need counsel on a personal representative issue or drafting a comprehensive estate plan for yourself, our informal probate legal team is ready to help you take the next step.

Let New Mexico Financial & Family Law Attorneys Assist You With Informal Probate

Informal probate can simplify and expedite the process of managing a loved one’s (or a client’s) estate. However, it is not a cure-all for the complications that can lie in the probate process. If there are questions as to how to interpret the will, how to pay off creditors, or how to honor all claims, this can derail the informal probate process — leading to formal probate conducted through the district court. The value of the estate may also come into question, requiring a professional’s review and guidance in order to determine if informal probate should, in fact, apply.

New Mexico Financial & Family Law is prepared to assist you and your family in all matters of probate. Whether formal or informal, our attorneys are here to help you make sense of probate law, determine the best path forward, and resolve any issues or complications using the optimal strategies available.

If you would like to speak with our informal probate lawyers, you can schedule a confidential, no-obligation consultation when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.

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