Frequently Asked Questions
Who needs an estate plan? Everyone! A comprehensive plan includes not only a will (or a will and trust) but financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and more. A properly drafted estate plan can be helpful in avoiding a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship proceeding (if you later become incapacitated). Having a quality estate plan should not only provide you with peace of mind during your life, but provide your loved ones with support and clarity after your death.
Do you need a trust? Years ago, the size of one’s estate was often the determining factor when deciding whether or not to use a revocable living trust (with a “pour over” will), or a will alone, without a trust. Now that the estate tax credit (“applicable exclusion amount”) has increased so significantly, the question of whether or not to use a revocable trust has become more complex. We will help you consider the benefits and disadvantages of different structures to craft your unique estate plan.
How can our office help you create an estate plan? Our office works with clients to discuss their primary objectives, goals, and concerns, as well as other factors that affect the estate plan. For example:
Do you own unusual assets (such as oil and gas/mineral interests, out of state property, businesses)?
Do family members get along well?
How concerned are you about asset protection for beneficiaries (for example, do you want to protect your child’s inheritance from a divorcing spouse)?
Do you have a blended family?
Is there a beneficiary or potential beneficiary with special needs (which might include disability, young age, or drug/alcohol or gambling addiction)?
Might there be a future estate tax liability for you or for one of your beneficiaries?
We will discuss these questions and more when exploring the different options for an appropriate plan.
When appropriate (due to size and/or complexity), we also welcome collaboration with a client's other advisors, including CPAs, financial advisors, and insurance agents, for example.
Has a loved one recently died? We understand that recent losses are often difficult to process. Our goal is to help you through the legal process that accompanies death in a caring and efficient way.
We provide a broad range of services for clients from simple probate administration to very sophisticated and complex estate administration. Our firm assists with New Mexico probates, as well as ancillary New Mexico probates when appropriate (for decedents who die as residents of another state). We can assist with matters such as transferring property out of a decedent’s name, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (“GST”) planning, post-mortem planning, qualified disclaimers, and other post-mortem estate planning.
Please note, however, we do not handle contested matters and our firm does not litigate contested matters.