According to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, only about 32.9% of American adults have a will or estate plan in place. Settling the final affairs of a deceased person without a valid will or estate plan can pose different challenges. Regardless of how large or small your estate may be, having a detailed estate plan can help protect your assets and property, make adequate provisions for your loved ones, and mitigate potential conflicts between family members and relatives.
If you need proper guidance drawing up your will or if you want to understand how estate planning works, it is important that you speak with an experienced New Mexico estate planning attorney. Our team is highly experienced and knowledgeable in estate planning legal matters, including wills and trusts. As your legal counsel, we can help draft your important estate planning documents and guide you through every step of the legal process.
At Bischoff & Bischoff Law, P.A., we proudly serve clients across Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the surrounding areas of Rio Rancho, Sante Fe, Valencia County, including Los Lunas, and Belen. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation.
A will or "last will and testament" is a legal document that expresses an individual’s wishes for their belongings after their death. Through a will, you can give detailed instructions about the distribution of your assets and property when you’re gone. The person making the will is referred to as the "testator." A will allows you to do the following:
Provide specific instructions about your estate administration
Specify who gets what property upon your death
Choose a personal representative to administer your estate
Choose a trusted person (a guardian) to care for and manage assets left for minor children
Give gifts to schools and charities
Choose a caretaker to help care for your pets
Communicate your wishes clearly and precisely
There are four main types of will recognized in New Mexico. They include:
Joint Wills: A joint will is a legal document signed by two people (usually a married couple). In a joint will, the surviving spouse will inherit all of the couple's assets upon the death of the other spouse.
Mutual Wills: A mutual will is a will created and signed by two people, typically a married couple, that remains binding even after the death of one spouse. The couples mutually agree that the will may not be altered after one spouse's death.
Wills with Testamentary Trusts: A will with a testamentary trust places assets into a trust and appoints a trustee to manage the decedent's assets on behalf of the beneficiaries.
Pour-Over Wills: A pour-over will is a legal document that ensures a person's remaining assets and property automatically transfer to a previously drafted revocable living trust upon the individual's death.
Unlike other states, New Mexico does not recognize nuncupative (oral wills) or holographic wills.
For a will to be considered valid in New Mexico, it must meet the following requirements:
The testator must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind
The will must be witnessed and signed by two people in the presence of the testator
Some commonly inherited assets in a will include:
Real estate property
Personal belongings and household items
Trusts and shares
Money in bank accounts
Pension or life insurance policies
Other things to include in a will:
Important details about your assets
Wishes regarding your funeral and/or burial arrangements
Details about beneficiaries
A list of your debts, including personal loans and outstanding taxes
When it comes to protecting your assets and loved ones, wills and trusts are two of the more common options. Here are some of the differences between a will and a trust.
A will spells out your true wishes after your death. Conversely, a trust allows you to appoint a successor trustee to step in and handle your affairs upon your death or sudden incapacitation.
A will is only active after you die. In contrast, a revocable living trust is effective immediately once you sign it and transfer assets into the trust.
Creating a will is cheaper upfront. On the other hand, trusts are pricier upfront and more tedious to set up.
A will allows you to choose a guardian for your minor children and pets and specify your final arrangements.
A will has to go through the probate process to ensure its validity. In contrast, a trust allows your estate to bypass the probate process.
Planning for an uncertain future can never be too late or too early. Having a detailed plan can help communicate your true wishes to your surviving loved ones after your death. An experienced New Mexico wills attorney can evaluate your personal situation and help you make informed decisions.
We have the experience and resources to guide individuals and families through complicated estate planning procedures. Our team will review your needs, explore your available legal options, and determine the right estate plan that best fits your unique circumstances.
As your legal counsel, we will help you draft your will and ensure that it is valid, legal, and meets procedural requirements. Our firm will work diligently to address your needs and concerns and help craft a distinct solution that protects your estates, assets, investments, and family's best interest.
If you need assistance drawing up your will or estate plan, contact us at Bischoff & Bischoff Law, P.A. to schedule a consultation. We can offer you the legal guidance and support you need to make key decisions. We proudly serve clients in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as Rio Rancho, Sante Fe, Valencia County, including Los Lunas and Belen.