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Everything You Need to Know About a Last Will and Testament in New Mexico
We all know this; there is no guarantee for tomorrow. We need to make the most out of today. But, even without guarantees for that the future and that we only know what happens now, it would be unwise to create work hard at creating an estate for all that work to go to waste. And worse than that would be bringing kids to the world and leave them to suffer upon our death. So, in as much as we don’t know what the future holds, it’s wise to protect it.
The next best thing you could do is to create a last will and testament. A last will is a legally recognized document that protects your interests and wishes after your death. As long as you create a will and cover all your bases (include all your kids as heirs), there is little room for the will getting challenged and the court will respect those wishes. So, whether you are a control freak or not, a will gives you immense control over your estate even after your death.
The difference between a last will and a living will
Both documents facilitate the execution of your wishes when you are unable to decide or act. However, that living will belongs to the living, and the directives in the will only determine what will happen to your financials, healthcare or childcare in the event of incapacitation or unavailability. Once the creator (principal) dies, the powers no longer hold, and that is when the last will takes over. Basically, it has your after-life directives, and it represents what you wish to want to be done to what remains when you are no longer here.
What do last wills do?
With a last will and testament, you get to exert authority over who inherits your estate, who takes care of your minor children and even what’s to be done to ensure the continuity of your business to perpetuity. However, for that to happen, you have to fill out a free New Mexico last will and testament form.
While hiring a lawyer is an option, it is an expensive option. A free last will form is an easier alternative because it’s free and it guides on you on what to fill. At the end of the day, a will drafted with a lawyer and the one you create on your own hold the same powers. You could, however, seek legal help if your estate is large and you have complex matters to deal with (blended families or tax protection).
Some of the uses of the last will include:
- Creation of testamentary trusts for children or pets. Testamentary trusts are created along with the last will, and they are irrevocable. Therefore, the will is essential for the protection of kids. And if you wish to create a care fund for your pet, create a pet trust. Other than the testamentary trusts, you could use the will to create dynasty trusts, education trusts, bypass trusts, and other irrevocable trusts.
- Child protection: If you leave minor kids behind, money will not be all they will need. To protect kids, the court will appoint guardians. However, why leave that important role to the court when you know who the best person to care for your kids in your absence is? Well, just make sure you discuss this with the person you are considering for the guardianship position before you name them. Note that the guardian will also have to manage the inheritance you leave to your kids.
- Asset distribution: would you like to give some of your estate to the church, a needy friend, or a charitable organization? Create a will and put down those details. Without the will, the state decides who inherits your estate – often your close family members.
Without a last will, the state effectuates intestacy laws to facilitate asset distribution.
The following things could happen to your estate:
Unless you leave behind kids shared with your spouse, your surviving spouse inherits your entire estate. However, with kids in the picture, your spouse will inherit all of the community/ joint property, as well as a quarter of the separate estate; your children (descendants) will inherit the rest.
If you die without a spouse, surviving kids, or parents, your closest relatives; siblings and grandparents or anyone else closely related to you by blood will inherit your estate.
What makes the last will valid?
You should be 18 years or older, of sound mind, acting voluntarily, and you should have the will in writing. You must sign the will with at least two adult witnesses present to affirm that you are of sound mind and acting voluntarily. As per the requirements of code section 45-2-501, et seq., you have to name your beneficiaries too.
Note that you can change the will later. All you’ll need for the change is a codicil to facilitate the amendment of the will and to ensure the will the same way you created the original will.
Revoking a will
You could easily revoke a will by executing a subsequent will or by destroying the will intentionally.
Are you in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Taos, Roswell or any other city in New Mexico and looking for help in creating a last will? Look no further: download our free last will and testament form today.