Creating a will is an important step in planning the distribution of your estate (assets including real and personal property) following your death. New Mexico wills allows for any children, your spouse, other family members, and pets to be provided for after your death. LegalZoom works with the testator (or person making the will), in creating valid New Mexico wills, and in assigning a person (called the executor in most states) to administer a New Mexico last will and testament after the death of the testator.
Basic Requirements for a New Mexico Last Will and Testament:
Age: The testator must be at least 18 years of age.
Capacity: The testator must be of sound (capable of reasoning and making decisions) mind.
Signature: A New Mexico last will and testament must be signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other individual in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction
Witnesses: A New Mexico last will and testament must be signed by at least two individuals, each of whom signed in the presence of the testator and of each other after each witnessed the signing of the will
Writing: A New Mexico last will and testament must be in writing to be valid.
Beneficiaries: A New Mexico last will and testament may make a disposition of property to any person.
Distribution of Property:
A will is a legal document created by you to determine how your property, known as your estate, is distributed after your death. Your estate consists of assets and property including bank accounts, homes, land, furniture, automobiles, and securities (stocks and bonds). In general, New Mexico laws allow you to dispose of your property as you wish.
Other Purposes of Wills:
LegalZoom's New Mexico wills form may be used to designate a guardian for any minor children.
Our New Mexico wills form may also be used to name an executor (also called a personal representative or administrator) to handle a testator's property and affairs from the time of death until the estate is settled.
A New Mexico will may pass on property to a charity.
Notable exceptions to the ability to distribute property:
Under New Mexico law, property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship automatically passes onto the surviving owner.
Community property automatically passes onto the surviving spouse.
A beneficiary in a life insurance policy may not be changed through a will.
If a spouse is excluded from the will, the surviving spouse may take a portion (an "entitlement of spouse") of the estate within a certain period of time as allowed by New Mexico laws.
Providing for Pets
Under applicable New Mexico state laws, a trust designating a caretaker for a pet after the owner's death is valid. The pet trust terminates when the last pet dies, or after 21 years. The testator would have to create a testamentary addition to the will (known as a pour over will) that would devise the pet to a trustee. Legalzoom's New Mexico wills form gives you the choice of providing for your pets.
Changing and Revoking
Changing a Will
A New Mexico will and testament may be changed whenever the testator desires.
A New Mexico will and testament can be changed through a codicil, which is a document stating additions or changes to the original will. Codicils must be executed in accordance with New Mexico probate laws.
Revoking a Will
A New Mexico will and testament or a part of a will and testament can be revoked:
1) By a subsequent will which revokes the previous will or has different terms than the original will; or
2) By performing a revocatory act (includes burning, tearing, canceling, obliterating or destroying the will or any part of it) on the will if the testator performed the act with the intent and for the purpose of revoking the will or part or if another individual performed the act in the testator's conscious presence and by the testator's direction.
Probate and Estate Taxes
After the testator has died, probate procedures prove the validity of the New Mexico last will, pay off debts and taxes of the estate, appoint a personal representative to administrate the will, and distribute property as designated in the New Mexico last will.
New Mexico does not impose an estate tax on the property of any person dying after January 1, 2005.
It is extremely important to make a New Mexico will if you want to control the distribution of your estate. If you die without a valid will, you are said to have died "intestate" and your property will be distributed according to strict New Mexico laws.
For example, your spouse will receive the entire estate if you have no surviving parents, descendants, or children. If you leave no surviving spouse or parents, but leave children, then your children will share the estate in equal amounts.
If you make a New Mexico will, your valid will prevents the laws of intestacy from deciding the distribution of your estate.