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New Mexico divorce & family law attorneys

New Mexico Estate Planning Overview

Having an estate plan in place will allow you to protect your loved ones beyond your lifetime. This can be a process many people avoid or put off, but we can assure you that having one in place is always better than not. By having a plan in place, you can assure that your assets in New Mexico are protected and your loved ones are looked after. With several years of experience and hundreds of completed estate plans and probate administrations, our estate attorneys know how to help you craft an estate plan that you can feel confident in.

Power of Attorney

Granting someone power of attorney allows them to act on your behalf in legal and/or financial matters. Choosing who you would want to be the agent under your power of attorney is an important aspect in the estate planning process and designates what powers they should be given, and when the powers should become effective can help you prepare for the unexpected, should you become incapacitated for any reason.

Different Types of Power of Attorney

When considering a Power of Attorney (POA) in your estate plan, it’s essential to understand the various types available, each serving specific purposes and catering to different needs. Here, we’ll explore some common types of Powers of Attorney to help you make informed decisions:

  • General Power of Attorney: A General Power of Attorney grants your chosen agent broad authority to handle various financial and legal matters on your behalf. This type of POA is typically used for specific periods, such as during temporary absences or incapacitations.
  • Limited or Special Power of Attorney: A Limited or Special Power of Attorney grants your agent specific and limited authority to perform certain tasks or make specific decisions on your behalf. This type of POA is often used for one-time transactions or specific purposes, such as selling a property.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A Durable Power of Attorney remains in effect even if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions for yourself. This provides added security and continuity in situations where you may need ongoing assistance.
  • Springing Power of Attorney: A Springing Power of Attorney becomes effective only under specific conditions or triggers, usually when you become incapacitated. It can be a valuable tool to ensure that someone you trust takes over decision-making when you are no longer able to do so.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: While not exclusively a financial or legal POA, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, also known as a Medical Power of Attorney, grants an agent the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate or make decisions about your medical care. This includes choices about treatment options, medical procedures, and end-of-life care.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: A Financial Power of Attorney is focused on managing your financial affairs, including banking, investments, taxes, and property transactions. It allows your agent to act on your behalf concerning financial matters, making it an essential part of comprehensive estate planning.
  • Non-Durable Power of Attorney: A Non-Durable Power of Attorney is limited in scope and duration. It becomes ineffective if you become incapacitated or unable to make decisions, which makes it less suitable for long-term planning compared to a Durable Power of Attorney.
  • When crafting your estate plan, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs and goals to determine which type(s) of Power of Attorney is most appropriate. Our experienced estate attorneys at New Mexico Legal Group can help you navigate the complexities of these arrangements and ensure that your estate plan includes the right Power of Attorney documents to meet your unique requirements. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for expert guidance and assistance in tailoring your estate plan to your needs and preferences. Your peace of mind is our priority.

Wills & Trusts

The core of any estate plan is a Will, sometimes coupled with a trust. A will allows you to distribute your assets in the manner you wish upon your passing, rather than leaving it up to the state to decide. There are a variety of different trusts you can choose from depending on your situation, but having one in place can help to eliminate the probate process in certain cases, as well as provide tailored plans for your chosen beneficiaries. For example, a Special Needs Trust can be created in order to benefit a beneficiary that has concerns about qualifying for governmental aid. Lifetime Trusts can be set up for beneficiaries who are spendthrifts and need to be protected from their own poor spending decisions. Pet Trusts can be created to help care for beloved pets after the death of their owners, and there are many, many other types of trusts that can be created to fulfill your specific wants and needs. Implementing these documents in your estate planning strategy will provide you and your family comfort knowing there is an estate plan in place for the future.

Guardianship & Conservatorship

Our Albuquerque estate planning attorneys also specialize in assisting individuals gain legal guardianship or conservatorship when they need help assisting loved ones that are incapable of caring for themselves due to illness, injury, or any type of disability that prevents them from caring for themselves. The biggest difference between guardianship and conservatorship is that a guardian becomes responsible for healthcare and other non-monetary decisions, whereas a conservator is responsible for finances.

Health Care Directives

Having an advance health care directive in your estate plan helps to nominate an individual as your agent and prepare for the unknown in the event of a medical emergency or unexpected or lengthy illness. Health care directives may not be the most comfortable topic, but having one in place will not only make things easier for your loved ones, it will also allow you to decide how you’d like to be treated in the event of an end-of-life situation. These are also sometimes referred to as a “living will” or “healthcare power of attorney.”

Probate

Probate is the legal process of distributing assets to a decedent’s specified beneficiaries, if they had a Will, or to their intestate heirs, if they did not have a Will. When there is a Will involved and a specific estate administrator/executor is named, the probate process can be simpler. If there is not a Will involved, the probate process can become more complex. In this case the court will assign someone to be the estate administrator/executor which can sometimes cause drama between family members and loved ones. This is where our attorneys can step in to help you get through the process, with as little hassle and drama as possible.

Protecting Your Finances

Estate planning is an indispensable tool for safeguarding your financial legacy and protecting the ones you love. It empowers you to make strategic decisions about how your assets will be managed, preserved, and distributed both during your lifetime and after your passing. Through various legal instruments like trusts and powers of attorney, you are able to mitigate potential tax liabilities, minimize probate costs, and ensure a seamless transition of your wealth to your chosen beneficiaries. Whether you seek to provide for your loved ones, support charitable causes, or safeguard your hard-earned assets, a well-crafted estate plan is the foundation upon which your financial security and legacy rest.

At New Mexico Legal Group our Albuquerque attorneys are experienced in handling all matters of estate planning and probate and can help guide you through the process in an efficient and painless manner. If you have any questions about estate planning, contact us today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an estate plan?

Estate planning covers many different topics, but the most basic are 1) what happens to your property when you die, and 2) who will make decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself due to disability. Therefore, while many people may not need a complicated estate plan that addresses tax minimization, business succession, Medicaid qualification, and the like, everyone should have basic documents in place to ensure that their wishes are honored in the event of disability or death.

When should I update my estate plan?

You should consider updating your estate plan any time you encounter a major life change—marriage or divorce, the birth of children, the birth of grandchildren, a significant career change, a health crisis, etc. Otherwise, your plan should be reviewed every five years if you are under age 60 and every three years after that.

How much does an estate plan cost?

The price of an estate plan can vary widely depending on who prepares your plan and how complex your plan needs to be. At New Mexico Legal Group, a basic will, power of attorney, and health care directive currently costs $1,000, and adding a revocable trust generally will increase the cost by $2,500. If you also need to address business or complex tax issues, additional fees will be charged.

Why estate planning should be important to you?

Estate planning documents are a way—often the only way—to ensure that your wishes are followed when something bad happens to you. If you care about who will be able to make major life decisions on your behalf if you are disabled, who will get your property when you die, or who will raise your children if you cannot, then estate planning should be important to you.

What is estate planning?

When people talk about “estate planning,” they usually mean documents that lay out what will happen to your assets when you die and who will make decisions for you if you become disabled. However, estate planning also can include tax minimization strategies, business structure and succession issues, planning to ensure that someone becomes or remains eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid, and asset protection measures.

Is estate planning tax deductible?

In general, legal fees related to estate planning are not tax deductible. Until 2018, legal fees for certain specific estate planning services could potentially be tax deductible if they were incurred for the production or collection of income; the maintenance, conservation, or management of income-producing property; or tax advice or planning. However, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, those deductions were eliminated at least until 2026.

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