new mexico probate law
Estates with No Will
When someone passes away without a Will – referred to as intestate – New Mexico law prescribes the surviving family members to whom the estate will pass. In most cases, the surviving spouse and the children of the deceased would receive the majority of the deceased’s estate. If the deceased left no surviving spouse, then the deceased’s surviving children (both biological and adopted) receive the deceased’s property in equal shares.
Typical Procedures in an Intestate Probate Estate
- Someone must file a petition with the Court.
- The Court Will determine the heirs.
- The Court will appoint a Personal Representative to administer the estate.
- The court-appointed Personal Representative is charged with performing the following duties:
- Mashal all estate assets, meaning physically taking possession of – and exercising control over – all the assets owned by the deceased at the time of death.
- Pay all estate debts. Personal Representatives and Trustees are required to provide notice to all known creditors and, at times, to also advertise for possible unknown creditors. This will ensure that all debts are paid and protect the estate from creditor claims after the estate has been administered and closed.
- Distribute the remaining estate. After all debts and expenses of estate administration have been paid, the remaining property is distributed to the persons entitled to inherit.
Other No-Will Estate Information
Additionally, surviving spouses may receive the total sum of $45,000 to be paid in all intestate estates if assets allow. Minor children that survive the decedent may be paid an allowance of $30,000. Allowances are sacrosanct and have priority over all other payments before anything else is paid, including debts.
Often, if the deceased’s assets were jointly titled with someone else, or if the asset named a designated beneficiary to receive the asset upon death, there is no need for court involvement.
Obtaining the expertise of an experienced probate attorney can be critical in protecting your interests, ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are honored, and achieving a successful outcome should a loved one pass away intestate.