Today I want to talk to you about why you should have a will as a component of your estate plan and how it should not be the primary document in your estate plan because that could lead to a costly mistake. As you are aware a will after you have it properly executed in front of witnesses with your signature constitutes a document that allows your primary representative to distribute your assets according to your wishes. In order for the personal representative to do that, they have to put your will through probate. Probate is a public process. Your will shall not be kept private at this point. The problem with just having a will as a part of your estate plan is that when it goes to probate, (because you need probate so that your personal representative can get documents so they can legally transfer assets or property from your name to the beneficiaries) is that someone can contest the probate process. When this happens the process can become costly. You can hire an attorney, the other party can hire an attorney to challenge the validity of the will and that can cause the probate process to be drawn out for months, if not years. 

someone handing a house to someone else, and a hand holding money.

The advantages of having a Trust in New Mexico

A will lays out what your intentions are, but if you want some sort of privacy for your beneficiaries and you don’t want your beneficiaries or personal representative to have to put the estate through probate, then the next step for you is to make a trust. A will can be a part of trusts but I would encourage you, when you are looking to develop your estate plan, the trust should be the main primary vehicle. In a trust, everything about the trust and transferring property is kept private. If you only have a will, it will go to probate. Probate will be time-consuming, lengthy, and expensive if the beneficiaries challenge the validity of the will. I’m not saying a trust cant be challenged, but I have seen oftentimes that wills that go through probate are challenges and it does prolong the distribution of assets. When attorneys get involved, the cost of litigation, and ensuring the assets and property are properly distributed to the beneficiaries can get pricey. 


If you feel like you need to get started on your estate plan, the attorneys at Genus Law Group have extensive expertise when it comes to making a will and starting a trust. If you are a personal representative or a beneficiary that needs legal help with the probate process give us a call for a consultation! 1(505)317-4455. It’s important to secure your legacy for your family, start your estate plan today. 

Anthony Spratley
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Experienced Divorce, Child Custody, and Guardianship Lawyer Serving Albuquerque and Beyond
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