The attorneys at Aragon Moss George Jenkins, LLP are passionate about helping clients take the proper steps to ensure their assets are transferred per their wishes upon their passing. 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 concern is routine or complex, our attorneys focus on meeting each client's individual needs and goals.
We understand that most people do not like to think about their mortality. However, when you die, you will want your assets – your home, investments, personal possessions, and other property – transferred to the individuals and organizations you care about most. You will also want to ensure these transfers occur with minimal tax consequences.
Our attorneys work directly with clients to draft wills, trusts, and other essential documents necessary to ensure their wishes are 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 prepare last wills and testaments that set forth how they want their assets, and personal possessions handled upon death. When we design a will, we take the time necessary to understand our client’s goals and concerns for the future. We ensure that their assets are transferred according to their wishes and that these transfers occur with as few tax liabilities as possible. Often, the wills we prepare for our clients include a trusted personal representative responsible for ensuring that our client’s wishes are fulfilled. Estate planning documents may also include other directives, such as who will care for minor children and funeral and burial instructions. At AMGJ Law, 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 other reasons for creating them. 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 it and has the right to change it 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 trust's beneficiaries. The attorneys at Moss George assist clients in developing trusts that best meet their individual needs and objectives. We prepare many trust documents for clients, including revocable or living trusts, special needs trusts, life insurance trusts, and charitable trusts. Our firm also assists clients in administrating 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 a legal document that delegates authority for one person to act on another’s behalf. The maker of a power of attorney is 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 particular type of power of attorney that remains in effect even if someone becomes incapacitated. In New Mexico, competent adults also have the right to make an optional advance health 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 want your doctor to provide should you become incapacitated. A 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 challenging to understand and are often confused with one another. The attorneys at Aragon Moss George Jenkins, LLP work with clients throughout New Mexico to prepare these critical estate planning documents and are committed to answering questions and ensuring 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. When a decedent dies without a will (intestate), the probate process distributes the assets to the individuals entitled to receive them under New Mexico law. If the decedent has a will, the will must be admitted to probate in court so that ownership of the assets can be correctly passed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. 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 according to the will or trust. Should a conflict or dispute arise in connection with the probate process, our attorneys advocate for our client’s rights at all stages of the litigation process. We understand that our clients are dealing with emotional situations, and we are committed to doing everything we can to help our clients through these difficult times.
Areas of PRACTICE
Environment & Natural Resources
Environment & Natural Resources