Estate Planning Question: Should you ask your Adult Child Caregiver to be a Joint Signer on a Bank Account?

Should you ask your Adult Child Caregiver to be a joint Signer on a Bank Account?There are some common estate planning strategies that people routinely employ that are so simple and straightforward that people often use them without actually weighing the advantages and disadvantages of the approach. When adult children are providing care for elderly parents, one strategy that is commonly employed to provide easy access to financial resources is to add the child to the parent’s bank account. While the convenience and ease of this approach makes it an attractive option to facilitate a caregiver’s access to funds for a parent’s financial needs, there are drawbacks to this approach that need to be considered. Outlined below, our New Mexico Estate Planning Attorneys have provided an overview of the pros and cons of this estate planning tactic.

Unfettered Access:
If a child is added as a co-signer to the account, the co-signer on the account may use some or all of the funds without the consent or knowledge of the parent. This means that the caregiver can literally empty the account of all funds leaving the elderly parent destitute.

Vulnerability to Creditors:
When an adult child is added as a signer on the account, the funds in the account constitute assets that may be available to the creditors of the child. Under certain circumstances the creditors of a child might elect to levy against the bank account even though no intent existed to transfer any portion of the funds to the adult child. While the child’s name may have been added to the account only for convenience of access, the process of adding an additional signer means that the account is jointly owned so either owner’s judgment creditors can seek to enforce debts against the account.

Exposure to Liability for Personal Injury Judgments:
There is no protection from personal liability if the caregiver who is a co-holder of the account is involved in an automobile accident or otherwise is liable for a personal injury judgment. The personal injury victim might be able to obtain access to the funds in the bank account to satisfy the personal injury judgment.

Convenience of Access:
While the disadvantages above need to be considered, there is no question that simply adding an adult child functioning as a caregiver to the account provides a convenient way to facilitate paying bills, depositing checks and writing checks.

If you are considering joint access to a checking or savings account, there may be better alternative. A durable power of attorney or revocable living trust might permit access to funds without granting joint ownership. This can shield the funds from lawsuits, creditors and misappropriation while still allowing access to the funds for a senior’s care.

If you are considering estate planning strategies, our New Mexico Estate Planning Lawyers at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

Straight Talk about Revocable Living Trusts in New Mexico

Straight Talk about Revocable Living Trusts in New Mexico

Although revocable living trusts can be an effective estate planning tool, our Santa Fe revocable living trust lawyers recognize that some people are misled into spending money on a living trust when it might not be justified. In other situations, individuals might not receive the type of trust that is best suited to their needs, or the trust might not be properly implemented, so that the trustor is deprived of its benefits. Even AARP has used its magazine and website to warn seniors regarding a cottage industry of companies run and operated by those with no legal expertise or estate planning experience.

A revocable living trust is a written document that among other functions permits you to designate your intentions in terms of transferring your legacy to your family, charitable organizations and others. A living trust also permits you to exercise more control over the process to protect heirs who suffer from a disability or fiscal irresponsibility. This type of estate planning device can also specify the way you want your property managed if you suffer a period of physical or mental incapacity. Despite these benefits and others, we have outlined issues to be considered before electing to have a revocable living trust prepared.

Do I really need a living trust?

An AARP study found that the greatest growth among those who paid to have a living trust drafted involved those who were least likely to benefit from this estate planning tool. There are many services that have aggressive sales people contact people about purchasing a living trust. AARP recommends that you contact a qualified estate planning attorney if you are considering a living trust. Attorneys are subject to ethical standards and professional licensing, which prohibits them from cold call you to sell you a revocable living trust that is unnecessary. Further, an experienced New Mexico revocable living trust attorney can advise you in terms of selecting the appropriate type of living trust.

Will my living trust be prepared by a qualified estate planning attorney?

Many sales people working for “estate planning mills” might suggest that your documents are prepared especially for you by an attorney. If you do not use a law firm, you may end up with a generic pre-printed form that is not prepared or even reviewed by a lawyer. If you do not retain an estate planning attorney, there is a significant risk that your documents will not meet your objectives or even comply with state law.

What about my situation makes a living trust worth the investment?

Although a revocable living trust can be an effective estate planning device, it is not the optimal solution for everyone. While aggressive salespeople from business other than law firms might tell you that a revocable living trust will save you estate taxes and probate costs, there might be other solutions that make more sense. Further, you may not face any exposure to estate taxes anyway if the net value of your estate falls within the limits for exemption from estate tax liability. The key is to make sure you understand the cost-benefit analysis that makes a revocable living trust your best option.

If you have questions about revocable living trusts or other aspects of estate planning, our Santa Fe, NM Estate Planning Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 505.856.3591 to learn about your rights and options.

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

Pitfalls of Joint Tenancy as a Probate Avoidance Strategy in New Mexico

Pitfalls of Joint Tenancy as a Probate Avoidance Strategy in New Mexico

While there are many strategies for avoiding probate, a common approach is to title assets in a way that allows the assets to be handled outside probate. Because New Mexico is a community property state, for example, the family residence will generally be community property between a husband and a wife. A common tactic employed by non-married parties it to take title to property in “joint tenancy.” Because joint tenancy includes a right of survivorship if one of the tenants dies, the deceased joint tenant’s interest automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant. While this can be an effective way to avoid probate in the short-term, it can pose problems in the long-term. Below are some potential issues for your review and thoughtful consideration.

Inadvertent Disinheritance of Love Ones:

A common scenario involves taking property with a significant other as joint tenants. When one joint tenant dies, the surviving paramour inherits the interest of the predeceased joint tenant. While this may be the intended result, the children of the predeceased joint tenant may be inadvertently disinherited when the surviving joint tenant eventually passes away. The entire interest in the asset will pass to the surviving joint tenant’s children at the time of death.

Incapacity of a Joint Tenant:

If either joint tenant becomes mentally incapacitated, the other joint tenant may need to obtain the approval of the probate court to refinance or sell the property.

Loss of Control:

When a parent decides to make an adult child a joint tenant on an asset, the adult child has the ability to encumber or sell his or her interest.

Gift Tax Liability:

An elderly parent will frequently add an adult child as a joint tenant to a bank account to facilitate use of the account for the senior’s care. However, this can be a risky proposition if the amount in the account is substantial. There is a possibility that the adding of a joint tenant will be considered a “gift” for tax purposes. This may result in unintentionally triggering gift tax liability.

Probate Not Really Avoided:

If two joint tenants own an asset together, the form of title may avoid the need for probate when the first joint tenant passes away. However, probate is really only postponed because probate may be necessary if the second joint tenant dies without a living trust or other probate avoidance strategy.

Exposure to Creditors:

If either joint tenant has credit issues, unpaid taxes, delinquent child support or liability from a court judgment, jointly titled assets can be subject to debt enforcement actions or liens.

If you have questions about joint tenancy or other probate avoidance strategies, Life Leaf Legal offers a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque during which we discuss your situation and answer your questions. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 505.856.3591 to learn about your rights and options.

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

Complications in Valuing Specific Assets for Estate Tax Purposes

Complications in Valuing Specific Assets for Estate Tax PurposesAfter a person passes away, the value of an estate must be calculated before the estate can be distributed to one’s beneficiaries. The process of determining the value of particular types of assets as well as the net estate for purposes of distribution to one’s family members, charitable organizations and/or loved ones can be complicated so our Estate Planning Lawyers have provided some examples of the complex valuations process associated with some common types of assets. This is a complex issue and many different types of assets are calculated in unique ways so it is important to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in New Mexico if you have specific questions about your situation.

Value of Real Estate:

The value of real estate for estate planning purposes will typically be the fair market value of the property. Some of the factors that will impact the fair market value (FMV) of real estate includes:

• Condition, age and size of structures on the property
• Applicable zoning laws
• Unique characteristics of the property
• Physical conditions on the property
• Location and size of the tract
• Net income generated by the property
• Appropriateness of real property for current or intended use
• FMV of comparable properties in the area
• Expense associated with making the property marketable
• Probate court valuation

The value of real estate also may be impacted by co-ownership of the property. The IRS may allow the value of the property to be discounted for estate tax purposes provided the co-owner is not a family member or business associate.

Annuities:

The value of annuities for purposes of estate taxes also is the fair market value of the annuity. When an individual inherits a stream of annuity payments, the value of the payments must be calculated for estate tax purposes. When the annuity is issued by an insurance company, the value of the survivor benefits are based on the premium charged for the issuance of a single life annuity based on the survivor’s life as of the date that the deceased passed away. In the case of a private annuity, the value is derived from the present value of future payments.

Ownership Interest in Family Business:

If you have closely held stock in a family business, valuation of the stock for estate planning purposes can be complicated because the stock is not publicly traded. Some of the factors that will be relevant in determining the value of the stock include:

• Annual dividends
• FMV of comparable stock in publicly traded companies
• Economic conditions and outlook for the industry in the economy
• Stock’s book value
• Price paid for recent sale of company stock
• History and characteristics of the company
• Potential earning capacity for the business

Those who only hold a minority interest in the business such that they do not possess the ability to influence daily business operations and/or decisions or to force the sell, liquidation or similar disposition of the company may be entitled to a discount in the valuation process.

If you have questions about your potential liability for estate taxes or the valuation process for particular assets, the Estate Planning Lawyers at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at 505.856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.
The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

Basic Information You Need to Know about a Last Will and Testament in Santa Fe

Last Will

A last will and testament in Santa Fe may vary in complexity depending on the nature of your estate and family relationships both based on heredity and marriage. A simple will can provide an effective method for distributing your assets, establishing trusts, choosing a guardian for your children and selecting a personal or administrative representative. Many times a simple will is only one critical component in your overall estate plan, which may include multiple estate planning documents.

Although a complex will typically addresses all of the same issues included in a simple will, the arrangements for accomplishing these goals may be more sophisticated and intricate. If you have a substantial estate with high net worth or complex assets, such as multiple real estate holdings, retirement accounts, ownership interests in businesses, life insurance coverage, investment vehicles or other similar property, you may need a complex will. A complex will also may be appropriate to address the establishment or administration of a trust or to address estate tax planning issues. Even if you do not have a large estate, you may still face complex issues based on the character of your assets or the complexity of your family relationships, such as multiple marriages, divorce or children from prior marriages. Situations like this make a complex will essential to seeing that your intentions for providing for your loved ones are fulfilled.

One of the most important issues when considering a will is whether this type of estate planning document is appropriate given your specific needs. Effective estate planning may address a wide range of issues including asset protection, inheritance of property, reduction of tax obligations and other issues. An experienced New Mexico Estate Planning attorney can meet with you and analyze the complexity of your estate and family relationships to determine the best estate planning tools for your situation. While many estate plans include a will, there are many different ways that a will may be customized to fit your unique situation.

We understand the importance of protecting the wealth and property that you spent a lifetime building. Carefully crafting your last will and other estate planning documents ensures that your estate is handled properly when you pass away. If you have questions about a will or the probate process in New Mexico, our Estate Planning Probate Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options. Or click HERE to set up an appointment.

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

What You Need to Know about Living Trusts

What You Need to Know about Living TrustsWhile living trusts constitute the foundation of many estate plans, some people are unclear about why having a living trust prepared is such a valuable estate planning strategy. Living trusts can provide a wide range of benefits for those constructing a Estate Plan, such as tax benefits, probate avoidance, protection from creditors and more. There are many types of living trusts so it is important to identify an individual’s priorities so that the appropriate living trust can be prepared which satisfactorily addresses these objectives. We have provided information that those considering Living Trusts need to know.

Why will a living trust prevent the need for probate?

While a will must be administered through the probate process, a living trust provides for a transfer of property placed in the trust without any court administration. The trustee appointed to handle the trust simply transfers the property to the beneficiaries of the trust according to the terms of the trust.

Are there reasons to avoid the probate process?

The probate process can entail delays in disposition of property to loved ones creating financial hardships for surviving family members, whereas there is no need for any lag time in distributing the assets in a trust to the beneficiaries of a trust. Living trusts also may provide a way to reduce or avoid estate and gift taxes depending on your situation.

What constitutes a living trust?

A living trust is a legal relationship created by a trust agreement that transfers legal ownership of assets to the trust to be held for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. A living trust involves transferring assets into the trust while the trust creator is still alive (also called an “inter vivos” trust). Sometimes the person who creates the trust also can be the trustee, but the benefits provided by the trust differ depending on such decisions so it is important to seek legal advice when deciding how to set up a living trust.

Does the creation of a living trust eliminate the need to have a will prepared?

If you have a living trust, you may only need a very basic type of will referred to as a “pour-over will.” This type of will is designed to provide for the disposition of property that the trust maker fails to formally transfer into the trust.

Is It Time to Have Your Irrevocable Trust Reviewed by an Attorney? 

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

If you are considering setting up or updating your estate plan, Living Trust Lawyers at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.

Communication Can Reduce the Risk of Family Conflict of Inheritance

Communication Can Reduce the Risk of Family Conflict of InheritanceAlthough families often handle distribution of inherited property without conflict, there are many cases where disposition of the assets that comprise an estate through will or trust can cause deep family rifts and reignite long dormant family issues. Most people engaged in estate planning have particular justifications for their decisions to leave their property to a charity rather than family or to divide their estate unequally among children. However, effective estate planning can head off such issues by careful planning, drafting and discussion with loved ones. Our Bernalillo County Estate Planning Lawyers understand the potential for such conflicts and often craft solutions designed to eliminate confusion and conflict later.

One common factor that promotes conflict and challenges to estate planning documents involves surprise by family members. While people may be hesitant to completely articulate their plans for disposition of their assets, business and property, the step of providing a broad outline or overview to family members can reduce the likelihood of disputes. When intentions are shared with family, this provides family members time to come to terms with a loved one’s decisions and to ask questions or express concerns. Although this may not completely satisfy family members who disagree with an individual’s intentions, it may be sufficient to discourage lawsuits that needlessly eat away at the net worth of an estate.

When the bulk of an individual’s assets or assets of substantial value are left to charities or non-family members like a caregiver, these situations can be especially likely to lead to potential problems including disillusioned family members and litigation. These conflicts might be preempted by sharing with family members the extraordinary efforts provided by a caregiver or the close connection of a museum to preserving a cherished piece of artwork. Admittedly, communication of one’s motives may not eliminate all negative feelings, but it can at least make clear that the decision was based on legitimate reasons.

Another scenario that often results in conflict is when an estate plan leaves an unequal division between children. Many times there are sound reasons for such an uneven division of an individual’s estate. For example, one child may have special physical or intellectual needs whereas another child may be financially successful. This situation may make the inheritance more valuable to the special needs child. While simply dividing property this way without explaining the decision to do so might cause hurt feelings and resentment, the financially secure child might completely understand and embrace the decision when the reasons are made clear. Sometimes a child receives help from a parent during the parent’s lifetime, such as a down payment to purchase a home. This may be viewed as “advance inheritance” and provide another explanation for an uneven distribution of property to an individual’s kids.

Common Questions about Wills in Bernalillo County, NM

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

The key is that communication to family members regarding your estate planning strategies and intentions along with artful drafting of a living trust and/or will can prevent family disputes over inheritance issues. If you have questions about estate planning in Bernalillo County, our Probate Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.

Albuquerque Probate Attorneys: What is probate?

Albuquerque Probate Attorneys: What is probate? Although most people are familiar with the term “probate” and possess at least a rudimentary understanding of this concept, they may not have a clear understanding of the function and process of probate. Our Albuquerque Probate Attorneys have provided an overview of the basic role and functions of the probate process. The probate process is a method of transferring a person’s assets after death which is supervised by a court. The property that is subject to the probate process includes those assets owned in the decedent’s own name but does not include certain assets that pass based on title, joint ownership or beneficiary designation. Probate may either be based on a will or on the law of intestate succession when a decedent dies without a will or living trust.

For assets to be distributed under a will, a legal action must be initiated so that a judge can “probate the will.” In broad terms, this requires the party who initiates the probate process to establish that the will meets all of the legal formalities to be enforced. The steps involved in carrying out the probate process will usually be handled by a personal representative. The basic steps in the probate process include:

• Gathering the assets of the estate
• Satisfying outstanding financial obligations
• Accumulating income and dividends owed to the estate
• Resolving any outstanding disputes
• Distribution of the remaining net assets to heirs

While probating a will can be either a contested or uncontested proceeding, contested proceedings usually arise when a potential beneficiary under the will believes that he or she has not been treated fairly and should receive a more substantial portion of the estate. These challenges typically are based on a lack of proper execution of formalities, undue influence exerted over the decedent or lack of mental capacity when the will was drafted. Sometimes challenges to a will can be preempted by using a “no contest clause” in a will or discussing one’s intentions with heirs ahead of time so that they understand your justifications for how you distribute your estate.

Although many people use the probate process, much of the focus of estate planning involves avoiding probate. Probate offers the advantage of court oversight of the administration of your estate but has drawbacks like probate expenses, delays in distributing your assets and public disclosure of personal financial information.

Four Common Estate Planning Missteps

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

If you have questions about a will, the probate process, or how to avoid probate in New Mexico, our Albuquerque Probate Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.

The Value of Charitable Remainder Trusts for Those with Limited Liquidity

The Value of Charitable Remainder Trusts for Those with Limited LiquidityThere are many people who would like to provide financial support to their favorite charity but have concerns about their lack of liquidity. Although cash can be one form of contribution made to a non-profit organization, sometimes there are ways for individuals with assets that have appreciated substantially to make charitable contributions without tapping monthly income payments needed to pay for living expenses.

Our attorneys who provide estate planning guidance to those throughout Bernalillo County and the surrounding areas of New Mexico understand the challenges of making charitable donations when an individual’s capital is tied up in assets. We have provided an overview of the two types of charitable remainder trusts that may provide a viable option in such situations – (1) Charitable Annuity Remainder Trust (CRAT) and (2) Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT). These types of trusts permit a donor with assets that have significantly appreciated in value to continue to receive the income from the trusts to provide for their financial needs while donating the remaining value of the assets to the charity. This can be an appealing option for those with funds invested in real property or securities.

Because this special type of trust must be non-revocable, those considering this approach should discuss the option with an experienced estate planning attorney because the settlor must permanently surrender the assets. The trust may be set up for a term up to a maximum of twenty years with the settlor maintaining the right to receive income payments from the trust throughout the duration of the living trust. This form of trust also provides a means for securing an income stream for surviving family members and loved ones because other beneficiaries may receive these payments after you pass away. While the trust receives the remaining value of the assets, this value must be at least ten percent of the net fair value of the principle assets at the time the assets are transferred into the trust.

Both forms of charitable remainder trusts – CRATs and CRUTs – permit the donor to receive an income tax deduction upon creation and funding of the trust. The value of the federal income tax deduction amounts to the present value of the remainder the charity will receive after all income distributions have been made to the settlor and his or her beneficiaries.

Each of these two forms of charitable remainder trusts offer slightly different benefits. When a CRAT is used, the settlor receives a fixed percentage during the life of the settlor and the trust. The level of the income distributions are fixed regardless of the actual appreciation of the trust assets. The annual income payments must be at least five percent of the net fair market value of the assets at the time of the creation of the trust. This means that a CRAT is a fairly secure financial planning vehicle that provides predictability in terms of the amount of the income payments, but it does not permit the donor to benefit from appreciation in the value of the assets after the assets are placed in the trust.

A CRUT differs because it permits the donor to benefit from future returns on investment generated by the trust assets after the trust is established. While the donor still receives a fixed percentage of the net fair market value of the assets, the fair market value is calculated on an annual basis. This means that the donor can benefit from making good investments, but also can experience lower income payments if the value of the assets depreciate after the trust is funded.

Common Questions about Wills in Bernalillo County, NM

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

If you have questions about charitable contributions, our New Mexico Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.

Common Questions about Wills in Bernalillo County, NM

Common Questions about Wills in Bernalillo County, NMVirtually all comprehensive estate plans include a will that may be the foundation of one’s asset succession plan or a more limited pour over will to ensure that all of an individual’s property is properly addressed. Because wills are an essential part of estate planning strategies, our Bernalillo County Estate Planning Attorneys have provided some answers to common questions about wills. While we have answered some of the most common general questions, we invite those with specific questions about their situation to contact us to schedule a free consultation.

Do I really need to have a will if I plan to leave my property to my immediate family anyway?

Some presume that if they are planning to leave the bulk of their estate to their spouse and/or children, New Mexico intestacy law will accomplish the same result without the need to prepare a will. However, the law prescribes that specific percentages of your estate be awarded to your spouse and children that may not represent the way you wish to distribute your assets. Further any loved one beyond your wife and children may be left with no inheritance if you rely on New Mexico intestacy law rather than a will.

Does the preparation of a living trust make a will unnecessary?

While a living trust is an effective estate planning tool and frequently superior as the primary tool for transferring assets to your loved ones when you die, it does not completely eliminate the need for a will. In this situation, you still need a pour over will so that it is clear what to do with assets that you failed to transfer into your trust.

What are the limitations in terms of how a will can address my asset succession needs?

While wills can provide for the transfer of assets that would be subject to probate, there are certain assets that are always handled outside of probate like life insurance policies and retirement plans with designated beneficiaries. Further, real property titled “joint tenants with right of survivorship” will pass to the other joint tenant rather than via will.

Why is it advisable for most people to use a living trust rather than a will as the cornerstone of their estate plan?

Wills must go through probate so they often entail delays, additional costs, public disclosure, and limited options for reducing estate taxes. Living trusts allow an individual to transfer assets into the trust when the person is still living so that probate is unnecessary. In addition to the increased efficiency and reduced cost, living trusts also provide more effective and flexible options for protecting beneficiaries from creditors and inadequate management of the funds they inherit.

Four Common Estate Planning Missteps

The above information is designed solely to illustrate general principles of law, and does not constitute a specific legal opinion on individual cases. We suggest that you contact experienced legal counsel for a specific opinion tailored to your individual circumstances.

If you have questions about probate or wills, our Santa Fe, NM Estate Planning Attorneys at Life Leaf Legal Group, PC offer a free consultation in our centrally located offices in Santa Fe and Albuquerque so that we can discuss your specific situation. Call us today to schedule your free consultation at (505) 856-3591 to learn about your rights and options.