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Avoiding probate for small estates

You often hear estate planning experts in Roswell espouse the wisdom in avoiding having an estate go to probate. This is due to the fact that the cost of probate is taken directly from an estate's assets, which could lower each beneficiary's interest in it. For this reason, many come to us here at the Sanders Law Firm after the death of a loved one panicking that they will lose almost the entire value of the decedents' estates in probate costs. If you share the same concern, not to worry; there is a simple method to avoiding probate (even when a decedent took no action to do so while he or she was still alive). 

According to Section 45-3-1201 of New Mexico's Uniform Probate Code, you can bypass the probate process altogether in the following situation: 

  • You are entitled to property from your loved one's estate
  • At least 30 days has passed since his or her death
  • The total value of his or her estate (less liens and encumbrances) is no more than $50,000
  • There is no applications for the appointment of a personal representative for the estate pending

You can also avoid probate and claim your residence as your own property after your spouse dies (provided your home is valued at less than $500,000). In this case, however, you must wait six months after the death of your spouse to petition for this property transfer. 

If, after valuing your loved one's estate, its total value does exceed the costs associated with his or her death and funeral, family and personal property allowances, and the expenses of administration, you can seek a simplified probate process that allows the estate to be processed sooner. More information on working through the estate administration process can be found here on our site. 

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Ruidoso, NM 88345

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