In New Mexico, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you truly want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for truly implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these intentions.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your preference on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such arrangements for you, if you are unable.
A knowledgeable estate planner in New Mexico may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Moreover, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in New Mexico
Estate plans in New Mexico almost always have these elements:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many problems that can come up in the drafting of a will. Nonetheless, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Thus, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a reliable attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is a legal document in which you give some other person (typically a family member) the ability to make decisions (often related to money or healthcare) on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so.
Funeral Arrangements: This is a very personal determination, and you should discuss it, in detail, with your friends or family members who are in a position to implement your wishes. Your funeral instructions should not be included exclusively in your will, since wills are sometimes not read until days or weeks after the testator's death. By that time, it may be too late to implement the decedent's wishes with respect to funeral arrangements.
Do I Need a New Mexico Estate Planning Attorney?
To most people, these issues are necessary to their peace of mind during life. Therefore, it's very important to make them with the help of a reliable New Mexico attorney, to make sure that they have the best possible chance of being implemented.
Interesting Facts About New Mexico
New Mexico is situated in the Southwestern region of the U.S. It is often considered the prime example of Southwestern life and culture in America. Before becoming part of the U.S., the New Mexico region was once part of the Imperial Viceroyalty of Spain. This is reflected in the red and gold colors of the state flag, which reference the region's Spanish origins.
New Mexico's state Constitution was approved in 1912 and authorizes the form of government in the state. The New Mexico court system is organized into different levels beginning with the Municipal Courts and ending with the Supreme Court of New Mexico. New Mexico has also instituted a one-of-a-kind "Problem-Solving Court" system, which is authorized to provide special interventions for drug offenders.
The state of New Mexico has also launched a Court Improvement Project (CIP). The CIP is aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of judiciary proceedings in New Mexico. One of the state's most famous court cases is Liebeck v. McDonald's (1994), popularly known as "The McDonald's hot coffee case". The case spawned a whole host of liability claims for fast-food chains, and was featured in a television documentary film.
Lawyers in New Mexico handle many types of cases ranging from simple legal claims to complex claims like the Liebeck case. New Mexico lawyers are skilled at providing legal advice and zealously represent clients during lawsuits. Working with a New Mexico lawyer can help make the legal process run much smoother.