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If you have had a loved one pass in Rio Rancho, their estate may be able to be managed through the simplified informal probate process. Informal probate is a relatively less complex process compared to traditional, formal probate. It proceeds with minimal court involvement, and it is designed to reduce the costs and legal overhead involved in probating a will.

Informal probate is only available for estates where there is a clear, valid will, there are no contesting claims, and there are enough assets in the estate to cover all obligations. When these conditions are met, individuals may be eligible to file their Rio Rancho informal probate case through the Sandoval County Probate Court system, rather than through the Thirteenth Judicial District Court.

Being able to probate a will through the informal system will save personal representatives time, stress, and money. If you aren’t sure if your case is eligible for informal probate — or you are concerned there might be contested claims or limited assets held in the estate — then it’s important to speak to an experienced informal probate attorney in Rio Rancho as soon as possible.

New Mexico Financial & Family Law provides confidential, no-risk case reviews for all probate matters. Call today at (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.

Where Can I File for Informal Probate in Rio Rancho?

Individuals can be designated as personal representatives of the decedent’s estate and probate the will informally through the Sandoval County Probate Court so long as the decedent either:

  1. Resided in Sandoval County at the time of their death
  2. Did not reside in New Mexico, but owned real property in Sandoval County

Additionally, there must not be any issues that would need the supervision of a judge or a court ruling to determine. This means:

  • No contested claims
  • No contests over the validity of the will
  • No competing parties wishing to be named personal representative
  • No outstanding tax or legal issues that must be resolved prior to probating the will
  • No question that the estate is able to cover the family allowance, the personal property allowance, administration costs, all creditor claims, and can still distribute all property to beneficiaries as intended by the will

The Sandoval County Probate Court Office is located at the following address:

1500 Idalia Road, Building D / P.O. Box 40

Bernalillo, NM 87004

Phone: (505) 867-7647 or (505) 867-7645

Fax:  (505) 867-6699

Unfortunately, court employees and the probate judge cannot provide legal advice or guidance. Personal representatives must be able to complete all forms, meet all legal obligations, and make legal decisions on their own, including when to close probate and begin distributing assets. 

To make sure all of these legal matters are handled in the estate’s interest, personal representatives should speak to an experienced Rio Rancho informal probate attorney before filing the needed paperwork. New Mexico Financial & Family Law is able to provide you with a case review at no risk and no obligation, allowing you to make the best decision for your needs with confidence.

What Is Informal Probate?

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.

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 Rio Rancho 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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