Planning one’s estate early and thoroughly helps eliminate uncertainty and means one less thing to worry about. An estate plan is not limited to writing a will—for example, most people own things that are not subject to disposition by will.
Estate planning techniques and documents might include:
- health care directive;
- power of attorney;
- guardian designation;
- disability planning; and
- life insurance planning.
These various tools can help you ensure your wishes are carried out should something happen, give your property to the people you want to receive it, and work efficiently to minimize taxes that might otherwise be due.
Why you need to plan your estate:
- Without planning, the State decides what happens to your property when you pass.
- Without planning, the State decides who makes medical decisions for you.
- Without planning, the State decides who makes life decisions for you if you are under guardianship.
- Without planning, the State will appoint a representative to administer your estate and dig through your personal information.
- Without planning, the State decides who will be guardian for your minor children.
Probating an estate is the process of asking the court, after a loved on has passed, to allow you to properly carry out the wishes of the decedent. The probate process is open to circumstances with and without wills. During the probate process, the representative of the estate collects and pays (or denies) bills, taxes, and other claims against or due to the estate. The representative also distributes property according to a will, or, if no will exists, according to the New Mexico Probate Code.
This process can become time consuming and confusing when taxes must be prepared and filed, when property interests must be split and/or sold, when relatives disagree—the process can also be emotionally exhausting.
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