Albuquerque Probate Lawyers
Family legal disputes can arise when major life changes happen, including when a loved one passes away. In the aftermath of a family death, it is often necessary to probate the estate of the decedent. Understanding what probate entails and how the process works can be important to minimizing the possibility of costly disputes and achieving efficient, favorable resolutions.
At Sutherland Law Firm, LLC, ourAlbuquerque attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of probate. Resourceful, skilled and strategic, we can help you protect your interests and successfully navigate the probate process.
Call 575-708-9000 or Email Us
for Answers about Your Probate Case
We are ready to talk about your situation, answer your questions and address your concerns. We are also prepared to immediately start advocating your rights and protecting your interests, regardless of where you may be in the probate and estate settlement process.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal proceeding of verifying a decedent’s will and settling his or her estate. More simply, probate is process through with a deceased person’s:
- Valid, outstanding debts are settled (paid).
- Assets are transferred to the rightful heirs.
If no valid will has been left behind, the heirs will be determined by New Mexico’s intestacy laws. Here, it is crucial to point out that only the assets held in a decedent’s name alone (upon death) will pass through probate.
How Does the Probate Process Work?
The nature of probate proceedings can vary, depending on whether a case involves:
- Informal probate, which applies when a case does not involve any disputes – This option usually requires minimal court1 involvement, which tends to mean that it proceeds faster (than formal probate).
- Formal probate, which is necessary when disputes like will contests arise – In formal probate, the court will take a more active role, and additional hearings (and investigation) may be necessary to resolve the disputes that arise.
Generally, however, the probate process in New Mexico involves taking steps like (but not limited to):
- Notifying the beneficiaries and other interested parties that a probate case has been opened
- Inventorying the estate
- Evaluating creditor claims and paying those that are valid
- Appraising the estate’s assets
- Paying any required estate taxes
- Distributing the assets of the estate, according to either the terms of a valid will or intestacy law.
Is Probate Avoidable?
There can be ways to avoid probate or streamline the process. This is typically done through estate planning prior to a death. Some estate planning tools that can be used to avoid (or limit the need for) probate can include:
- Joint tenancies
- Use of “pay-upon-death” (POD) designations.
Do I Really Need an Attorney for Probate?
Yes. Whether you are focused on making plans to help loved ones avoid probate – or you are preparing for or involved in a probate case, the support and representation of an experienced lawyer – like the probate & family law attorneys at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC can be enormously helpful.
That’s because a lawyer can do things like (but not limited to):
- Establish comprehensive estate plans that can limit future probate costs and obligations
- Explain your rights and help you advance your interests in probate
- Guide and advise you at every step of the process, helping you avoid any mistakes that could increase the costs and/or duration of a probate case.
Get Experienced Help from an Albuquerque Probate & Family Lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC
Whether you are a beneficiary, a personal representative or another interested party in probate, an Albuquerque probate & family lawyer at Sutherland Law Firm, LLC is ready to help you.
Call 575-708-9000 or email our firm.
Backed by four decades of family law experience, we have the knowledge and skills you can count on for effective representation in and outside the courtroom. Let us help you successfully navigate the complexities and challenges of probate so you can obtain the best possible resolution and move forward with your life.
1: The Bernalillo County Court handles probate cases in Albuquerque and throughout the county.