The attorneys at Moss George LLP are passionate about helping clients take the right steps to ensure that their assets are transferred in accordance with their wishes when they pass away. Our compassionate attorneys represent individuals, families, trustees, personal representatives, beneficiaries, and other parties in a full range of estate planning, probate administration, and probate litigation matters. Whether the matter is routine or complex, our attorneys focus on meeting the individual needs and goals of each of our clients.
We understand that most people do not like to think about their own mortality. However, when you die you will want your assets – your home, investments, personal possessions and other property – transferred to the individuals and organizations that you care about most. You will also want to make certain that these transfers take place with as minimal tax consequences as possible.
Our attorneys work directly with clients to draft wills, trusts, and other important documents necessary to ensure that their wishes will be properly carried out when they are gone. Our attorneys also help clients with family businesses develop effective succession plans for their companies.
We work one-on-one with our clients to to prepare last wills and testaments that set forth how our clients want their assets and personal possessions to be handled upon their death. When we prepare a will, we take the time necessary to understand our clients’ goals and concerns for the future. We not only make sure that their assets are transferred according to their wishes, we also ensure that these transfers occur with as few tax liabilities as possible. Often, the wills that we prepare for our clients include a trusted personal representative, who is responsible for making sure that our clients’ wishes are carried out. Wills may also include other directives, such as who will take care of minor children, along with funeral and burial instructions. At Moss George, we are also here for our clients after the documents are signed, providing ongoing support and assistance when their goals change or their families grow.
A trust creates a legal relationship whereby one person (the “trustee”) holds another individual’s property for the benefit of others (the “beneficiaries”). The trustee is responsible for managing the trust and has a duty to safeguard the property in the trust for the beneficiaries. There are different types of trusts and many different reasons for creating them. Some of the most common reasons for establishing a trust include avoiding lengthy probate proceedings, reducing taxes and protecting one’s privacy – unlike a will, there is no public record of the assets and distributions associated with the trust. In a revocable or living trust, the person who creates the trust (the “grantor”) maintains control over the trust and has the right to make changes to the trust and terminate it at any time. In most situations, the grantor will serve as the trustee of the revocable trust. Should the grantor become incapacitated or die, the successor trustee named in the trust would assume the duties held by the trustee. A trust can also be irrevocable. Unlike a revocable or living trust, in an irrevocable trust the grantor cannot modify or terminate the trust without permission from all of the beneficiaries to the trust. The attorneys at Moss George assist clients in developing trusts that best meet their individual needs and objectives. We prepare a wide range of trust documents for clients, including revocable or living trusts, special needs trusts, life insurance trusts, and charitable trusts. Our firm also assists clients in the administration of trusts and represents beneficiaries and trustees involved in sensitive trust litigation matters.
Powers of Attorney and Advance Health Care Directives
A power of attorney is legal document that delegates authority for one to person to act on another’s behalf. The maker of the power of attorney is known as the principal or grantor and the person receiving the authority is the agent. A power of attorney can be broad in scope (“General Power of Attorney”) or limited to certain specific actions (“Limited Power of Attorney”). A “Durable Power of Attorney” is a special type of power of attorney that remains in effect even if a person becomes incapacitated. In New Mexico, competent adults also have the right to make an optional advance heath care directive. An advance directive consists of a living will and a power of attorney for healthcare. A living will provides instructions on what life-prolonging treatments you would want your doctor to provide should you become incapacitated. The power of attorney for health care is a legal document that names another individual to serve as your representative to make medical decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself, or should you wish for someone else to make those decisions even if you are still capable. The advance directive also allows you to designate a physician to have primary responsibility for your health care. Powers of attorney and advance health care directives are crucial documents that should be a part of every individual's estate planning. While you may have heard of these documents before, they can be difficult to understand and are often confused with one another. The attorneys at Moss George work with clients throughout the state of New Mexico to prepare these important estate planning documents, and are committed to taking the time to answer questions and make sure that our clients understand when and how these documents are used.
Probate Administration and Litigation
Probate is the legal process of identifying the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying off the decedent’s debts and obligations, and transferring any remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. If the decedent has a will, the will must be admitted to probate in court so that ownership of the assets can be properly passed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. When a decedent dies without a will (intestate) the probate process is used to distribute the decedent’s assets to the individuals who are entitled to receive them under New Mexico law. Our lawyers guide clients through all steps of the probate process, assisting the personal representative in identifying and gathering assets, paying expenses, and distributing the decedent’s assets pursuant to the will or trust. Should a conflict or dispute arise in connection with the probate process, our attorneys advocate for our clients’ rights at all stages of the litigation process. We understand that our clients are dealing with emotional situations, and we are committed to do everything we can to help our clients through these difficult times.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(505) 872-3022 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation with an attorney. We typically respond to messages within 24 hours. We can also arrange to meet you at your home or another convenient location as necessary.
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